Mansells on track in Le Mans series

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Not when St Brelade resident Nigel is a former Formula One champion and sons Leo (25) and Greg (21) are keen to follow in his footsteps. No – instead, they choose Silverstone to go for a quick spin.

Last weekend the trio raced in the final event of this year’s Le Mans series, a five-circuit championship based on the famous French endurance race. The Silverstone leg was a 1,000-kilometre race around the famous Northamptonshire circuit, where Nigel won three of his 31 Grand Prix victories.

Racing for Team LNT in a Prototype 1 Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S, the 56-year-old started the race for team-mates Greg and Ginetta boss Lawrence Tomlinson.

Leo, who has been racing in the series since the beginning of the season, was on the track in the GT2 category, driving in a Ferrari F430 for Team Modena.

It is thought to be the first time in motor sport history that a world champion has raced with two of his children at international level.

Nigel and Greg teamed up after Greg left World Series by Renault – where he was racing against fellow Jersey driver James Walker – at the end of last month.

‘I wasn’t really going anywhere with my previous team, so it was time to move on,’ said Greg, speaking to the JEP from Indianapolis, where he was in discussions about future projects. ‘Silverstone was the final race in the Le Mans series so it was a one-off, but we both hope it won’t be the last.

‘For me, it’s a case of wait and see at the moment. I’ll spend some time this winter testing various cars, with a view to making a choice for next season.

‘Racing in the Le Mans Series was great fun and the team worked well together. I was driving for twice as long as I usually did in World Series by Renault, and the car had double the downforce, so it was certainly an experience – but an enjoyable one.

‘Competing in the actual Le Mans 24-hour race is, of course, a dream, but we’ll see how things develop in the months ahead.’

At Silverstone, after a strong start from Nigel the ‘Red 5’ Ginetta suffered a broken wishbone and was returned to the pits, resulting in inevitable loss of laps.

Following a swift repair, Nigel was back on the track before handing over to Lawrence Tomlinson, who raced a successful double stint, setting a consistent pace and the fastest lap time of 1 min 37.7 sec.

Greg was tasked with the final kilometres and managed to set the team’s fastest lap time of 1 min 36.5 sec. He took Team LNT up 11 places to their final position of 28th overall and 11th in their class. Leo’s team finished 26th overall and fourth in class.

Nigel said: ‘The whole Ginetta team were out of this world. To come from a standing start and having had little time for testing, we really threw our hat in the ring and showed what we can do. Greg had a sensational race – and I wasn’t bad for an old codger!’

Greg added: ‘The car was a credit to the team and performed well on new and old tyres. Everyone went insane for the last ten laps, so I had some fun against the Aston Martins.

‘It was a tremendous weekend and I had a great outing in the prototype. I’m incredibly grateful to Lawrence and everyone in the Ginetta team for giving us this opportunity.’

Nigel Mansell (seated) with (from left) sons Leo and Greg, and Ginetta boss Lawrence Tomlinson at Silverstone

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