NIGEL MANSELL TO RACE SCUDERIA ECOSSE FERRARI 430 IN FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP AT SILVERSTONE THE RETURN OF 'IL LEONE' Edinburgh, Scotland - 10 April 2007: Once upon a time, many years ago, Nigel Mansell raced for the Ferrari Formula One team.
NIGEL MANSELL TO RACE SCUDERIA ECOSSE FERRARI 430 IN FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP AT SILVERSTONE
THE RETURN OF 'IL LEONE'
Edinburgh, Scotland - 10 April 2007: Once upon a time, many years ago, Nigel Mansell raced for the Ferrari Formula One team. He quickly captured the hearts of the fanatical Ferrari fans - the tifosi - who nicknamed him 'Il Leone'. He was their British Lion.
Well now he's back!
On Sunday 6 May 2007, Nigel Mansell will race a Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT car in the FIA GT Championship race at Silverstone. The British Formula One World Champion will take part in the two-hour GT race, sharing the car with one of the team's regular drivers. The exact line-ups will be decided in the run up to the race weekend.
The opportunity for this guest appearance came about when the team heard a rumour that Nigel was considering driving a Ferrari 430 in America and suggested he give it a go a bit closer to home. Nigel joined regular drivers Chris Niarchos and Andrew Kirkaldy at Knockhill in Scotland on 5 April where he was quickly on the pace.
In addition to the Knockhill test, Nigel will be taking part in a Pirelli tyre test at Estoril (24-26 April) prior to the Silverstone race, to complete his preparations.
Nigel Mansell OBE:
"This was a challenge I had to accept. Stewart (Roden) runs a very good team and the cars are beautifully prepared. The Ferrari 430 is fun to drive but it remains to be seen how I will get on in a race situation as ex-F1 drivers tend to race with a target on their backs! I had a great time with the team at Knockhill and it's going to be good to work with Pirelli again as we have enjoyed many years working together in the past. I hope to see everyone at Silverstone as I think we are in for a great weekend of racing."
Stewart Roden, Scuderia Ecosse team principal:
"As a team we are delighted that Nigel will be joining us at Silverstone. We pride ourselves on our high standards so having a driver of Nigel's calibre with us really helps us to step up to the mark. In terms of race victories he is the most successful British F1 driver of all time which is an incredible achievement. Nigel was the last Ferrari driver to be selected personally by Enzo Ferrari before the great man's death in 1988. For a team that is so passionate about Ferrari we are so happy that Nigel is joining us and we will do everything we can to make sure that he has a successful weekend."
Stephane Ratel, Chief Executive of SRO:
"To have a driver of Nigel Mansell's standing and popularity competing in the FIA GT Championship says everything about the level of professionalism that we have attained in the series, and also about our standing within the motor sport family. Nigel is a natural born racer and seeing him reunited with the Ferrari name at Silverstone will be an extremely special moment; we're delighted the FIA GT Championship has provided this opportunity. I'm sure he'll relish racing the Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 - it's a thoroughbred - as well as facing the stiff competition from our regular Championship drivers. Importantly, as we all know, Nigel is an incredible professional and an entertainer, and you can be sure that he will put on a special show for everyone who comes to see him."
Did they all live happily ever after? Well, we'll see you at Silverstone!
AND THERE'S MORE GOOD NEWS...
Scuderia Ecosse driver Tomas Enge is on the mend after his recent crash in the last round of the American Le Mans Series. The popular Czech is in very good spirits and had this to say last night:
"I had three hours of surgery on my left elbow last Friday; the doctor put in plates and screws to fix it and said he was very happy with the way it came together. I don't have a cast, just a soft bandage, so I am already able to move the joint, but I have to be careful not to apply any weight to it. My physiotherapy programme starts tomorrow and this will be reviewed in two weeks' time when they take my stitches out. I am staying here in Indianapolis as it is the best place for my rehabilitation; they have seen quite a few racing drivers here! I can't wait to get back in a racing car. My target is the Le Mans 24 Hours but I may heal faster than that, or slower, who knows?! I am taking it one step at a time but every day I wake up more positive and more motivated."