FORMER F1 STAR HERBERT PREPARES FOR BTCC DEBUT AT "SPECIAL" SILVERSTONE Former F1 star Johnny Herbert says there couldn't be a better circuit than Silverstone - scene of his memorable British Grand Prix victory in the mid-Nineties - at which to...
FORMER F1 STAR HERBERT PREPARES FOR BTCC DEBUT AT "SPECIAL" SILVERSTONE
Former F1 star Johnny Herbert says there couldn't be a better circuit than Silverstone - scene of his memorable British Grand Prix victory in the mid-Nineties - at which to make his much anticipated race debut in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (Sunday 30 August).
Herbert has signed to race in the final three events of the UK's premier motor racing series in former title-winning squad Team Dynamics' Honda Civic.
It will be Herbert's first taste of the fender-bending action that makes the BTCC such a hit with the public and marks a significant departure from the style of racing he's previously experienced in F1 and sports cars in which he is also a past winner of the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hours.
Herbert of course is following in the wheel tracks of other ex-F1 stars and British GP winners Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and David Coulthard - all of whom have sampled the BTCC during their careers.
He said: "I'm going to be going three or four abreast into corners for the first time since my Formula Ford and Formula 3 days in the mid-Eighties. Obviously the power I've experienced since then in F1 and sports cars has been much higher than a BTCC car, but that takes nothing away from the challenge.
"I'm going to be up against some of the best touring car names in the world with the likes of Matt Neal, Jason Plato and Fabrizio Giovanardi and I've seen what these boys get up to along the way... scraping panels and having a wing mirror or bumper taken off is part of the game and it's something I'm going to have to adapt to quickly.
"But I've tested the Honda once already and got down to some good times and I've got another run in it next Monday. Plus it's won three races already this season so is obviously a very competitive car. I hope I can be in there somewhere near the front."
He added: "Silverstone is a fitting place for me to begin what is the start of a new chapter in my career. I've got memories of some great races here in the past, in Formula Fords and Formula 3 in the Eighties. It was always a special place for me, but then of course I got my win in the Grand Prix in '95. It's where I was able to experience something that not many British drivers have, so I suppose it makes it that bit extra special."
Free for Kids, Complimentary Grandstand & Paddock Access
Herbert joins the BTCC grid at what could be a critical stage in the title race. Northern Ireland's Colin Turkington, aiming for his first Drivers' crown, will arrive at Silverstone leading the championship but by just nine points from Italian megastar Giovanardi, the champion for the past two years.
Local favourite Plato (Oxford) and Matt Neal are also still in with a realistic chance of the title but with at least a dozen more drivers on the grid all genuinely capable of finishing on the podium, the crowds - and Herbert - are in for three highly unpredictable races.
In addition, there will be a further seven races - making it ten in all on the day - from the supporting Ginetta Junior, Ginetta G50, Porsche Carrera, Renault Clio and Formula Renault categories.
Trackside admission - including complimentary grandstand seating and access to the BTCC race paddock and drivers' autograph session - is free for children aged 15 and under and just £23.00 per adult if booked in advance online at www.silverstone.co.uk or by calling the hotline 08704 588 200. Adding extra value for money for the public, action from throughout the day will also be shown live on a big screen overlooking the popular Brooklands-Luffield-Woodcote section of the track.
For all the BTCC's latest news, results and photos visit the championship's official website www.btcc.net