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HIGH 5: Brummie F1 champ Mansell proves he's still a winner

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01/14/2018 | 10:13 am

FORMULA 1 legend Nigel Mansell proved he's still got what it takes to claim that chequered flag... even if his opponents are schoolboys.

The Brummie motor-racing champ - who famously raced as 'Red 5' - stepped out of retirement to reclaim his crown as the fastest man on four wheels.

But this time there was no smell of burning rubber and Mansell's two main adversaries happened to be under nine.

The 64-year-old 1992 F1 world champion raced against brothers Dylan, 8, and six-year-old Simon Trindle on the Cruise and Blast computer game at Birmingham's Vortex Gaming centre at Resorts World, near the NEC.

"It was marvellous, it really was," Mansell said. "So much fun. It was brilliant, especially for the two young boys.

"We created a bit of magic and all had a real blast together. There were so many children enjoying themselves inside the arcade. It was great to see."

Mansell, whose sons Leo and Greg are also racing drivers, wasn't going to give the budding racers an inch, and showed just why he was such a winner back in the day.

With his pedal to the metal, Mansell went full throttle to finish ahead of the lads, who are sons of the Resorts World owner.

It's not the first time Mansell has been involved with the gaming industry.

At the peak of his racing powers Mansell lent his name to a number of video games.

After Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix in 1998, came Nigel Mansell's World Championship in 1993 and Newman/Haas IndyCar in 1994, after he had won the CART Indy Car World Series in America the previous year.

The track hero also appeared as a playable driver for Williams in F1 2013.

"Those games are nothing like what they are today," Mansell added.

"They have really progressed and are so lifelike."

Mansell was born in Upton-upon-Severn, and spent many years living in Hall Green, in Birmingham, before his big break. He was even a special police constable for a time.

He was at the NEC in Birmingham yesterday to officially open Autosport International, one of the country's biggest annual motorsport events.

"Many many thousands are coming," Mansell said.

"I think ticket sales are 15,000 to 20,000 up on last year so it's clearly still very popular."

Mansell met fans and signed autographs as he shared fascinating tales about his death-defying 15-year career in Formula One.

He was also the star turn at a special Q&A, hosted by F1 journalist James Allen, at Genting International Casino in Friday night.

Among the other special guests at Autosport was young racing driver Billy Monger, who lost the lower part of his legs after a sickening high-speed crash in an F4 British Championship race at Donington Park in April last year.

The 18-year-old, whose supporters include current F1 world champion Lewis Hamiliton and 2009 winner Jenson Button, made an astonishing recovery and returned to the track just three months later.

¦(with Hamilton) also And he was back behind the wheel of a specially-adapted V8-powered Jaguar for a stunt display in the Live Action Arena alongside wounded, injured and sick ex-servicemen.

"I think it speaks volumes of the lad," Mansell said.

"For him to have made such a quick recovery and to get back in a race car.

"He was nicknamed Billy The Lionheart.

"And that's exactly what he is.

"He's a lion who is roaring back and has done fantastically well to get back to where he is now."

Billy is now preparing to race for a Jaguar team at the inaugural Invictus Games Racing tournament, a motorsport offshoot of the main event held in Australia later this year.

The competition will see ex-soldiers, physically or mentally wounded during their military careers, race against top-level drivers in a professional racing environment.

¦ Billy Monger, pictured Lewis was at the show


CAPTION: ¦ Billy Monger, (pictured with Lewis Hamilton) was also at the show; ¦ Mansell in his winning 'Red 5' Williams in 1992, and above, celebrating his victory on a computer game with a high five; ¦ Formula 1 world champion took on brothers Dylan, 8, and six-year-old Simon Trindle at a driving arcade game - and won

Copyright Mirror Regional Newspapers Jan 14, 2018, source Newspapers

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