Mansell And An M3 GTR
Bless Me Father for I have sinned – as a (very) lapsed catholic, it has been some 30 years since I have attended confession, but I feel I should unload this from the Goodwin book of revelations – I was once, and in part still am, a Nigel Mansell fan.

That was in the days of course when F1 was still worth watching, when overhypeing was only just pulling out of the slipstream of overtaking, as the principal facet of the sport.

Mansell of course was a man of many vices: he was undoubtedly a man who was guilty of too many moans and groans about his lot in life, a trait made infinitely worse by his Brummie twang, which could make an Oscar acceptance speech sound like a suicide note. He also sported one of the most ridiculous displays of facial hair in professional sport. He was though beloved of his fans, from the Union Jack boxer-shorted Mansell mania crew that turned Silverstone into a petrol-fuelled version of the Last Night of the Proms, to the hardcore race goers who loved his gutsy style of win or bust driving.

There were some lowlights in the last years of his active racing career of course, including the infamous trip into the bridge parapet at Donington, a massive accident which could all too easily have left him far more seriously hurt. That crash, which he blamed (totally unfairly) on Tiff Needell, robbed race fans of the opportunity to see Mansell behind the wheel of a racing sportscar for the first time.....

....‘Our Nige’ having qualified second on the grid (behind the evergreen Colin Blower!) in, of all things, the TVR Tuscan Challenge.

Mansell’s return to the racing scene this season, both behind the wheel in the new GP Masters series, and in the paddock supporting sons Greg and Leo in Formula BMW, give a new generation of race goers the chance to see the now facial hair-free Nige strut his stuff.

The Brands Hatch World Touring Car Championship meeting on May 21 may not feature the International GT Open cars, but it will provide the opportunity for fans to see two modern legends combined, Mansell and the BMW M3GTR, the fire breathing V8 powered Porsche beater which only raced once on UK shores (at the 2001 ELMS round at Donington Park) - and of course posted 1-2 finishes in the 2004 AND 2005 Nurburgring 24 Hours.

The M3GTR will be demonstrated at racing pace by the 1992 World Champion on the full Grand Prix circuit, apparently the first time Mansell will have lapped this track since 1998. Part of me hopes he enjoys it so much that …………………….. But let’s not go there!

Meanwhile, former M3 GTR driver Jorg Muller will have to cope with his two litre BMW: "No power, no downforce, no grip!" (He was explaining how to drive his current car, to Franck Lagorce)
Graham Goodwin


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