CHAMPCAR/CART: Wheldon's impressive Rockingham run

England's Dan Wheldon wowed the crowds at the new Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire yesterday when he came within half a second of becoming the fastest-ever racing driver in England. The 22-year old Briton was demonstrating a ...

England's Dan Wheldon wowed the crowds at the new Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire yesterday when he came within half a second of becoming the fastest-ever racing driver in England.

The 22-year old Briton was demonstrating a Reynard-Ford Champ Car at the COYS Historic Festival meeting which was held over the inaugural weekend of Britain's new oval circuit.

On Saturday, former IndyCar and Formula One World Champion, Nigel Mansell, had opened the new track by setting a time of 33.009 seconds - the fastest lap ever around a racing circuit in England.

Dan Wheldon - currently racing for PacWest Racing in the CART Dayton Indy Lights series in the USA - was invited to drive the same car. On Monday, Wheldon was scheduled to run for 17 minutes. By the time his session finished after 14 minutes track time he had set a fastest time of 33.4 seconds!

Afterwards, a jubilant Wheldon declared: <I>'I was very pleased - as a 22-year old rookie - to so quickly match the pace of one of motor racing's legends. I can't wait to actually race here and am optimistic of being on the starting grid for September's Champ Car race.

Steve Slater of Rockingham Motor Speedway commented: <I>'Dan was very impressive around the new track and obviously has the chance of being as big a star as Mansell in the future. It would be great if he were to be able to race in the Rockingham 500 this September as an English 'home hero'.

-DWR

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Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Nigel Mansell , Dan Wheldon