The remarkable motor racing career of home hero Nigel Mansell CBE will be celebrated with a spectacular showcase at next month’s London Classic Car Show at ExCeL London (15-18 February).
It is now 25 years since he achieved his holy grail by winning the FIA Formula One World Championship title in 1992 and to mark that milestone a special display of his cars, trophies and other rarely seen memorabilia will take pole position at the capital’s premier event for those with a passion for automotive nostalgia.
Mansell himself will also be present at ExCeL to meet his many lifelong fans, sign autographs and share memories with show-goers during public interviews staged in the event’s busy Supagard Theatre – one of the many highlights to be found at the London Classic Car Show’s sister show Historic Motorsport International, admission to which is included free for all ticket-holders.
“I’m delighted, honoured and, indeed, somewhat humbled that The London Classic Car Show has selected me to be its special ‘Icon’ at this year’s event,” enthused Mansell. “Seeing all those amazing cars which I raced during my career always brings back some incredible memories, and I’m very much looking forward to sharing many of my emotional experiences with those coming to what’s clearly going to be a really great show at ExCeL. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Mansell first came to prominence when winning the British Formula Ford Championship in 1977 before graduating to Formula Three. He then made his Formula One debut for Lotus in 1980 and over the following 15 years won no fewer than 31 grands prix with Williams and Ferrari – an amazing tally only now topped by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton among British F1 drivers.
He is also in the record books for being the only driver to win back-to-back Formula One World Championship and CART IndyCar World Series crowns, a feat he achieved when clinching America’s premier open-wheel title in 1993.
Although Mansell’s outstanding race record marks him out as one of motor sport’s greatest-ever drivers, it was his astonishing ability to overcome adversity that won him special respect and affection with fans right around the globe.
It was this incredible fighting spirit which caught the public’s imagination, earning him the nickname ‘Il Leone’ (The Lion) from Ferrari’s famous fans, the tifosi. His courage was equally adored by British followers, with ‘Mansell Mania’ erupting at Silverstone as ‘Our Nige’ overcame the odds to score emotional victories in front of record crowds.
Now memories of that magical era will be coming to London with the biggest and most comprehensive display ever dedicated to one of Britain’s best-loved sporting heroes. In previous years, the spotlight has shone on F1’s greatest car designer Adrian Newey, the sensational McLaren F1 supercar and 70 years of Ferrari history. As this year’s chosen ‘Icon’, the Mansell showcase will be every bit eye-catching and breathtaking as previous star-studded attractions.
“The heroics of Nigel Mansell are legendary and we will be recreating many of those magical memories at this year’s London Classic Car Show,” enthused Bas Bungish, Event Director. “More thrillingly, Nigel will be with us to share his recollections with all those coming to ExCeL – that’s something no motor sport fan will want to miss.”