McRae goes west: Former World Rally Champion Colin McRae to make his oval racing debut at Rockingham. Champion rally driver Colin McRae got his hands on a real bucking bronco of a car at the weekend as he took the wheel of a 500-horsepower Ford...
McRae goes west:
Former World Rally Champion Colin McRae to make his oval racing debut at Rockingham.
Champion rally driver Colin McRae got his hands on a real bucking bronco of a car at the weekend as he took the wheel of a 500-horsepower Ford ASCAR racer in preparation for his debut at the Rockingham track in Northamptonshire next Saturday.
McRae will swap his normal Focus WRC for one of the 'Day of Thunder'-style racers in the main supporting race to the CART Fed Ex championship event, which will see drivers including Dario Franchitti, Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi racing wheel to wheel at over 200 mph.
After his hour long rookie test in the ASCAR two seater McRae took to the track in the car he will racing on Saturday. Reigning BTCC champion Jason Plato had gone out earlier in the same car to set a benchmark time and the Scottish WRC ace rose to the challenge by smashing it by 0.4 seconds. McRae's final time of 36.4 seconds is the fastest ever time recorded by a rookie at Rockingham.
"This has been a new experience for me and I didn't really know what expect, I had watched it on television and that's about it. The guys at ASCAR and Bintcliffe Motorsport have been brilliant and I have got to grips with the car quite quickly. The facilities here at Rockingham are excellent, it will be fantastic sight when the stands are full of fans next weekend, I can't wait to get out there for the race."
"The cars are completely different and the style of driving required is amazing," McRae responded when asked to compare his Ford Focus WRC to the ASCAR. "The trick is to feel the limit of the car is what it is all about, no matter what you are driving, you can't really go past the limit in these (ASCAR) cars, you have to come gradually to the limit. I found the concrete wall a bit more comfortable than the trees on a rally stage."
When asked how he found it driving without co-driver Nicky Grist, Colin replied "It's quite peaceful actually!"
The ASCAR event on Saturday 14th September will take place at 11:00 and will be a 60 lap race. The 2002 Rockingham 500 is due to start at 13:30 on the same day.
Colin McRae has won two World Rally Events in 2002 -- Greece (Acropolis Rally) and Kenya (Safari Rally)
Information on ASCAR can be found at www.ascar.co.uk