31 years after Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell made his F1 debut in a Lotus courtesy of Colin Chapman, his sons Leo (26) and Greg (23) will get behind the wheel of the new Lotus Evora GT4 Endurance at next weekend’s Dubai 24 hour race.
The two Mansell boys join Lotus GT factory driver Johnny Mowlem, WTCC driver Stefano D’Aste and Gianni Giudici to take on the gruelling endurance challenge of the Dunlop Dubai 24 hours which starts on Friday (14 January).
With a pedigree like theirs it will come as no surprise that both drivers are more than a little familiar with racing, having started out like so many others in karting before progressing through various single seater Formula series including Formula Renault. And they’re no strangers to 24 hour racing, an unfortunate incident involving a suspected slow puncture prematurely ended their attempt at the Le Mans 24 hour race last year where Leo and Greg joined forces with Dad to tackle the iconic race.
Commenting on their debut with Lotus, Nigel Mansell said: “It’s a great feeling to see both my boys working with Lotus and it brings back some very fond memories for me. But F1 is obviously very different to endurance racing and as with any 24 hour race, the event in Dubai represents a big challenge. What’s special about the race in Dubai though is it will not only test their endurance under extreme conditions but they will have the added challenge of adapting very quickly to a relatively new car. I think they’ll do well and they have some well established drivers on the team to work with too – so hopefully they’ll all complement each other and the team dynamic will be strong. Lotus Motorsport has a great support team set up so everyone will be working together to get the best result out of the race.”
The 6th edition of the Dubai 24 hour race begins at 2pm local time on Friday at the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome and it will be the first competitive outing for the new Lotus Evora GT4 Endurance complete with an updated engine from Cosworth. The Lotus Evora GT4 Endurance will be in full “GT Endurance” specification and the engine has completed substantial in-car and on-dyno endurance testing. Cosworth decided that maintaining the maximum engine speed (at base GT4 level) while increasing efficiency was the most effective route to meeting the performance and durability targets set by Lotus.
The proof of all that hard work and planning will be in the performance of the team on Friday so fingers crossed that both Lotus and the Mansells have something to celebrate come Sunday.