Oulton Park debut for St Helens racer's rocket.

St Helens' Andy Middlehurst, once a track rival to Formula One legend Ayrton Senna, will be on the grid for the revival of Oulton Park's world famous Gold Cup race meeting on Sunday 25th and Monday 26th August.

Middlehurst, now aged 40 and a married father-of-three, has turned his hand to historic racing and has just bought a rare, Italian Tecno Formula 2 car from 1969.

The Gold Cup meeting - which returns from a 10-year absence with an historic racing theme to reflect its glory days of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s - is the perfect place for him to race it for the first time.

"It's a real rocket! It might only have a 1.6-litre engine, but it will reach about 160mph," says Middlehurst, who runs a Nissan dealership in St Helens. "The Tecnos were very successful in their day and a lot of my boyhood heroes like Ronnie Peterson and Clay Regazzoni used to race them in Europe. It's a bit of a dream machine for me."

Middlehurst, who also achieved fame in the 1990s as a factory Nissan driver in the British Touring Car Championship, is hopeful of a successful outing at the Gold Cup.

"I'd like to think I've got a chance of pushing for victory. It might have been the early 1980s when I raced against Senna and a few other big names in Formula Fords but I remain as competitive on the track just as I was then."

Four-times winner of the Gold Cup and triple Formula One world champion Sir Jack Brabham has already announced he will be attending the event to make the podium presentations.

Famous racing marques Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Maserati will all be represented on the starting grid.

Visitors to Oulton Park's Gold Cup, particularly children, will also be kept entertained by the varied off-track activities being arranged for the two days, including fairground rides, street theatre entertainers and Territorial Army displays.

Ticket prices are as follows:

£15 per adult each day

£20 for both days if booked prior to August 19 - ticket hotline 0870 606 0611

Children 15 and under free of charge both days

Grandstand tickets (in advance and on the day) £10 per adult, £5 per child each day

Camping £5 per adult for weekend, children 15 and under free of charge Notes to Editors: