Tennis stars Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and the RBS- sponsored Andrew Murray today completed their first driving lesson in a racing car on the Valencia circuit in the run-up to the Spanish Grand Prix. BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver, Nick Heidfeld, acted...
Tennis stars Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and the RBS- sponsored Andrew Murray today completed their first driving lesson in a racing car on the Valencia circuit in the run-up to the Spanish Grand Prix. BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver, Nick Heidfeld, acted as driving instructor to the tennis players and taught them how to handle the 140bhp Formula BMW race car.
After several driving instructions and six laps of the Circuit de la Comunitat, home of the Formula BMW Racing Centre, 17 year old Murray declared, "That was brilliant! I've just driven a real race car, even though I haven't got my driving licence yet."
"I understand most Formula BMW drivers also learn to race before gaining their road licence. I know from my own experience that when it comes to sport, you have to start early if you want to make it to the top." In the four Formula BMW series (Asia, Germany, UK, USA), drivers as young as 15 can learn the basics of motor racing.
For Sanchez's part, the winner of 13 Grand Slam tournaments also clocked up her first laps behind the wheel of a racing car, "A great experience," she said, "The low seating position, the confined cockpit and the limited field of vision is so different to driving on the road. Now I have some idea of what Nick experiences when competing in Formula One."
Heidfeld offered his verdict on the two tennis players. "I think both of them had plenty of fun today. I also enjoyed myself and it was also my first time behind the wheel of the Formula BMW car. And I have to say, BMW has built a really good car for its junior talent programme."
"The car offers many set-up options, but within reasonable limits. Most noticeably, I have to commend the safety considerations that are integral to the car - my first experiences on the race track were far riskier! That said, I will be looking forward to Friday and returning to having another 800 bhp behind me."
Before he gets back to Formula One, however, Heidfeld has to demonstrate his prowess on the tennis court. On Thursday, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver will take part in a charity tennis tournament in aid of the Northampton Intensive Care Unit.
Nick will be joined by his team-mates, Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia and drivers Giancarlo Fisichella, Marc Gen?, Christian Klien, Felipe Massa, Jacques Villeneuve and Alexander Wurz. They will exchange the learning experience with Sanchez-Vicario and Murray and other tennis players who will pair the Formula One drivers in a doubles tournament. The matches will take place from 9.00 to 12.00 hrs at the Open Club Sanchez-Casal in Barcelona.