LEDBURY, ENGLAND, August 15, 2001 -- Aside from the sight and sound extravaganza of a "full-on" Grand Prix paddock, spectators at the upcoming Thunder in the Park day at Donington, on Tuesday, August 21, will witness a piece of motor-racing...
LEDBURY, ENGLAND, August 15, 2001 -- Aside from the sight and sound extravaganza of a "full-on" Grand Prix paddock, spectators at the upcoming Thunder in the Park day at Donington, on Tuesday, August 21, will witness a piece of motor-racing history being made: the first-ever race between two-seater Formula One cars!
This unique event will provide the climax to a programme of non-stop, on-track action at the famous Derbyshire circuit aimed at bringing Formula One closer to the fans. Star attraction of the day will undoubtedly be Nigel Mansell, the 1992 Formula One World Champion and 1993 CART Indy car Champion piloting a number of lucky passengers at Grand Prix speeds around the swoops, dips and high-speed bends of Donington.
Making all this possible will be the presence of five of the eight two-seater Formula One cars that form the European Minardi F1x2 "fleet". Aside from Mansell, the list of high-speed chauffeurs on the day will consist of regular European Minardi F1 drivers, Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques, up-and-coming Malaysian racer, Alex Yoong, and European Minardi chief, Paul Stoddart.
On-track entertainment will include a one-hour qualifying session for the two-seaters, a demonstration run by Mansell in a recent F1 car, and lunchtime stunt-driving antics from Terry Grant. The highlight of the day will get under way at 3 pm, however, as the two-seater Formula One machines move to their grid positions and drivers prepare for the 12-lap race that will include a compulsory pit stop and passenger change for each competing car.
Live commentary on the race will be provided by none other than Murray Walker, who last commentated on a Formula One race at Donington on another notable occasion: the now-legendary 1993 Grand Prix of Europe. Colleagues James Allen, Tony Jardine and Louise Goodman from the ITV-F1 television programme will also be in attendance.
"It should be a great day out for everybody," says Paul Stoddart, "and there will be that little extra bit of excitement, knowing that we're making motorsport history by staging the first-ever Formula One two-seater race. Ever since we instigated the F1x2 programme, in 1999, we've dreamed of staging such an event. Now it's about to become reality, and the best part is that we will be able to share it with the fans. I'm really looking forward to it."