Nigel Mansell reunited with Lotus 81B at Hethel

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Nigel Mansell got back behind the wheel of the car he made his F1 debut in.

The 1992 world champion drove a Lotus 81B at the opening of Group Lotus’s new test track in Hethel, where the original Lotus F1 team used to test its cars.

Mansell’s son Leo drove the famous Lotus 88 – the twin-chassis car which was banned from competing in 1981.

Former F1 driver Jean Alesi piloted a Lotus T125 – the company’s F1-style customer experience car – painted in the black and gold colours used by Renault this year.

Renault drivers Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna were also on-hand for demonstration laps in their F1 show car.

Mansell said: “What a joy it was to be reunited with my old 81B after 30 years.

“This is a very special place, Hethel, and it was wonderful to open the circuit today by driving alongside my sons Leo and Greg.

Mansell first raced the 81B in the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix.

Hethel test track opening pictures

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Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Renault/LAT, Williams/LAT, McLaren, Getty Images/Red Bull, Force India F1 Team, Sauber F1 Team, Team Lotus, Virgin Racing, Motioncompany, Pirelli

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35 comments on Nigel Mansell reunited with Lotus 81B at Hethel

  1. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd June 2011, 22:55

    Horrible-looking car but it must have been a nice moment for Nigel.

  2. BNK Racing said on 22nd June 2011, 23:22

    any video? would love to hear the roar from these cars!

  3. johnny5 said on 23rd June 2011, 0:58

    Is that a Team Lotus shirt I see? I do believe it is!
    Own goal by Bahar, I think!

  4. Atticus said on 23rd June 2011, 1:25

    Big time family reunion for Lotus.

    Must have been very emotional for Nigel.

  5. xrdavo said on 23rd June 2011, 2:59

    So why is the Lotus Renault car there if this is a Team Lotus event.?

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd June 2011, 3:46

      Classic Team Lotus is not Team Lotus. They are not racing team but technical firm which maintenance old Lotus race cars. I don’t think they are interested or connected in Lotus name raid. In other word they are like car center for race cars lol

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd June 2011, 6:49

      Its an event by the Group Lotus / Lotus Cars to open their new test track.
      They had Classit Team Lotus (who use the traditional Lotus colours)there with the historic cars.

      And the current F1 car they sponsor as well as a few of their own models.

  6. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd June 2011, 6:43

    Anyone new to the Lotus v Lotus debate would be so confused by this!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd June 2011, 6:50

      Would have been fun to have had last years Lotus Racing car there as well :-D

      From the images, it makes me wonder, why GL does not switch to a black/gold livery for all their racing, changing the ART cars and Indy Liveries as well for consistancy.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd June 2011, 9:59

        Because that would be the grown up, mature thing to do! Bahar and Fernandes seem to have no intention of being grown up or mature while this battle rages on!

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 23rd June 2011, 10:38

        Yes! ART has Team Lotus colours but is sponsored by Lotus Cars! (I care about ART and as much as I like green and yellow I’d rather they remained red & white).

        • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd June 2011, 11:14

          And Team Air Asia have Team Lotus’s test drivers while DAMS run in the Renault bumble bee colours!

          GP2 really is an outlet for the madness of Lotus v Lotus…

  7. HounslowBusGarage said on 23rd June 2011, 8:43

    Tha Lotus 88 looks a fearsome beast. I wish it had been able to race – look at how low the rear wing is, it must have had so much ground effects downforce.

    • Tim said on 23rd June 2011, 13:06

      The Lotus 88 did practice at a couple of Grand Prix weekends and wasn’t very fast when it did. It eventually made its race debut in the Thoroughbred GP series for historic F1 cars.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 23rd June 2011, 21:58

      Agree, shame it wasnt given the chance to race and show whether it was competitive. Sad really, and when you think the BT49 had hydropneumatic suspension which was deemed legal.

  8. enfurnoh said on 23rd June 2011, 10:38

    New test track at Hethel??? Fantastic! I had the great opportunity of taking a driving course with Lotus Racing and I have to say the track was in horrible shape! The back straight was the old runway and it looked like it had been bombed. My instructor kept pointing out which potholes to use as my breaking points! It was fantastic fun though and I hope I have the cash again to drive their new track!

  9. pjbude (@pjbude) said on 23rd June 2011, 11:17

    bit confused here. group lotus track. team lotus and group lotus colours and mention of lotus racing and lotus cars. who is who???

  10. JCost (@jcost) said on 23rd June 2011, 11:39

    It is great to see Nigel. He was my fisrt F1 idol. I started watching F1 in ealry 1990s and Mansell was my fave, above Senna and Prost!

  11. Aldo said on 23rd June 2011, 16:20

    So nice to see Mansell. An amazing driver. Great article. AWESOME cars.

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