Nigel Mansell has given the Ginetta-Zytek LMP1 machine a big thumbs up after testing alongside son Leo and STRAKKA Racing pair Nick Leventis and Peter Hardman at Valencia.

The 1992 F1 world champion sampled the Petit Le Mans contender as he and his eldest son assessed Leo's options for 2009. While younger brother Greg looks set to continue his single-seater career with Ultimate Signature in the World Series by Renault, Leo - who hasn't shown the same open-wheel potential - looks set to move to sportscars, in either the European or American Le Mans Series.

Before heading out onto the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in the LMP1 machine, the Mansells climbed aboard a Ginetta G50 to assess the track, but it was the Zytek-powered prototype that caught the former Lotus, Williams, McLaren and Ferrari pilot's attention.

As expected, Mansell Sr was quick in both Ginettas but the open-top machine provided the biggest spark, prompting him to admit that 'I not only enjoyed it, but it was quick - and very much reminds me of my F1 days'.

According to sources, Leo managed a faster time than his father - who returned to the US open-wheel scene 15 years after taking the Champ Car World Series title to place both sons with Walker Racing in this year's Atlantic Championship - suggesting that he will be at home in sportscar racing.

Both Nigel and Leo made a first foray into prototypes during the summer, trying Chamberlain-Synergy's Lola at Estoril as they considered a family entry into the ALMS Petit Le Mans event. That bid failed to come to fruition, despite 23-year old Leo again lapping faster of the pair. Mansell Sr's best time was just a tenth slower and equal to LMS veteran Jamie Campbell-Walter. Nigel's presence in Valencia suggests that he is not prepared to let his sons have all the fun next season.

"I want to race again, especially with Leo - maybe Greg, too - but it's going to be a commercial decision," he told Britain's Telegraph newspaper after the Estoril test, ""My heart says go for it, but my head says 'hold on, it's a tough environment, who's going to pay for it?'.

"We're testing tyres with a great little team, but it's under-resourced, and to take on the big teams we would need some serious funding. Am I coming back to race? It's not that simple. I've been impressed by Leo - surprised, even - and the car is great to drive. But to tell you now that we're coming back, that would be too early. There's a lot of thinking to do."

 

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