Formula 1 star Jenson Button tested rallycross cars at Lydden Hill today alongside ex-Grand Prix racer David Coulthard.
Filming for a feature for BBC TV, Button tried his hand for the first time at the discipline that his late father, John, was a frontrunner.
As well as trying the contemporary JRM Racing-run Mini, he also drove a 1974 VW Beetle – similar to the car that John used to race to strong effect in the British Rallycross Championship.
“Today has been a mega experience and completely different to what I am used to,” said Button. “You need a huge amount of skill to drive these cars – on your own it’s scary enough, never mind going up against another four or five other drivers!
“World RX is an exciting championship and it’s great to see the sport growing again like it was in the eighties both in the British and on the world scene.
“Everybody racing in single-seaters or in circuit racing regards rallycross as very professional and a lot of fun.”
Speaking of his fondness for the sport, Button added: “I grew up with rallycross – I used to watch my dad racing back in the mid-eighties and I used to love hearing the car.
“I would not have become an F1 World Champion if it hadn’t been for my dad and the grassroots of rallycross – that was where I caught the motorsport bug.
“Today has brought back some really nice memories but since then, I’ve also enjoyed watching World RX on TV. I remember seeing the footage from the Finnish round of the championship last year and today confirmed just how great it is in real life too.”
Coulthard also impressed
Former F1 World Championship runner-up Coulthard drove the Citroen DS3 RX Supercar that Britain’s Liam Doran currently uses in World RX, and has previously driven a Marklund Motorsport VW Polo RX Supercar at last year’s Race of Champions.
“Rallycross is highly skilled – the drivers have to deal with an ever-evolving mix of asphalt and gravel that changes from lap to lap,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for rallycross drivers, because there are just so many more variables.
“I think it’s a great championship and it’s fantastic to try rallycross which has made me appreciate how skilled the guys are at driving these cars.
“It’s great to see that the Championship is growing so much too. I’ve watched it a bit in the past year but you can’t play at this sport – it has serious world-class competition.
“I’d absolutely recommend anyone to come along and watch rallycross – the racing is fantastic and being here in person is the only way you can truly appreciate the skill of the drivers and the power of these terrific machines.”