No less than four British ex-Formula 1 drivers will join the grid of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup when it arrives at Brands Hatch, England on September 4-5. Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert, Derek Bell and Mark Blundell have 389 Grand Prix starts and seven Le Mans 24 Hours victories between them.
"That such grandees of British motorsport are part of the field of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup shows the prestige which this innovative one-make cup also enjoys in the motherland of motorsport," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "I'm eager to see how these red-blooded racers from Formula 1 will present themselves in the competition with the young permanent entrants."
In addition to the seasoned motorsport professionals, emerging talents prove their prowess in the 275hp vehicles, which run on bio natural gas to achieve an eco-friendly reduction in CO2 emissions amounting to 80 per cent. The push-to-pass-system installed in the racing cars, which boosts the power output by an additional 50hp makes for many spectacular overtaking maneuvers and promises to deliver thrilling racing action.
Martin Brundle (51) made a mark at the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup as early as in spring. The 158-time Formula 1 entrant showed his class at the series' inaugural weekend at Hockenheim when he drove the Scirocco across the finish line in third place. "I enjoyed the race immensely," said Brundle, who is convinced of the one-make cup's concept. Repeating his podium finish at Brands Hatch won't be easy for the 1988 sportscar world champion, as he said himself: "I was surprised to find myself standing on the podium next to two very young racers at Hockenheim. The permanent entrants have gathered additional experience with the car in the meantime - this will make it more difficult for me to clinch a similarly good result at Brands Hatch as I did at Hockenheim."
The many spectators around the circuit will fondly remember Johnny Herbert (46). The former Formula 1 racer and team mate of Michael Schumacher at Benetton clinched three Grand Prix victories in 161 races and in 1991 won the endurance classic at Le Mans. The Briton contested the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and proved a natural when he scored points as early as in the second race.
The Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup fascinates a completely different generation of racers as well. If it didn't, the name of Derek Bell (68) wouldn't appear on the list of entrants. The Briton is regarded as one of the best sportscar racers in the history of motorsport. In 1975 Bell clinched his first overall victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours together with the Belgian Jacky Ickx. By 1984 he had won the classic race another four times, two times alongside Hans-Joachim Stuck, the current Motorsport Representative of the Volkswagen Group. I feel deeply honored about the opportunity of contesting this forward-thinking one-make cup and competing with young, top-caliber drivers," said Bell. "As many as 20 years ago, I enjoyed competing against young talents like the unforgotten Stefan Bellof - and I'll equally enjoy the Scirocco R-Cup." Bell has certainly not forgotten how to win. Three years ago he was victorious in a legends race at Laguna Seca and relegated ex-Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi and Indy500 winner Bobby Rahal to second and third place.
The fourth driver in the quartet is Mark Blundell (44), who ranked among the most talented British racers in the early 1980s. After championships in several junior series he debuted in Formula 1 in 1991 and up to 1995 contested a total of 68 races in the premier league of motorsport - including, among others, as team mate of the subsequent two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen. After an excursion into the American Champ Car Series he switched to sportscar racing where he had caused a sensation in the early 1990s. In 1990 he secured the pole position in the Le Mans 24 Hours by setting a record time and two years later won the endurance classic together with Derek Warwick and Yannick Dalmas.