Mansell Brothers to Challenge for 2007 British F3 Title with Fortec
Listen to Fortec team boss Richard Dutton talking about the signing for 2007 of Greg and Leo Mansell and the effect it has had on the team.
Greg and Leo Mansell will compete in the Championship Class of the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series, signing to drive with Northamptonshire-based Fortec Motorsport, the team they made their successful Formula 3 race debut with in October. Leo and Greg, sons of 1992 F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell, spent the 2006 season competing in Formula BMW, while regularly testing an F3 car with Fortec. The two drivers acquitted themselves impressively, on changeable track conditions, in the final two rounds of the 2006 British F3 International Series at Thruxton on 1st October. Greg posted the fastest lap for the Invitation Class in both races, three hundredths of a second faster in race one than his Fortec teammate, and race winner, Yelmer Buurman. Leo won the Invitation Class in the final round of the 2006 season, a dramatic race which saw overall victory go to Yelmer Buurman, having taken first position on the very last corner for himself and the Fortec team. Leo Mansell: "British F3 was the right choice for us because, one, it is our home formula and two, we have a great relationship with Fortec, working with them through testing and the race at Thruxton. We're also visiting some great tracks next year - Spa, Monza, Silverstone GP, Brands Hatch GP and the street race in Bucharest. It's a schedule we're really excited about." "We did start our motor racing careers late but now we are trying to catch up. We know we haven't got a lot of experience but we've been working hard to change that. We've done some karting and we did Formula BMW this year, which was good and we gained a lot of experience from that. We just want to continue gaining experience and use it as a stepping stone for the future." "We've come into this at a time when there are a lot of sons of ex-world champions are now racing and the fact the sons of Nigel Mansell are now racing hasn't been such a big a deal as it would've been a few years ago. People have also been very understanding this season because we are late starting, but we are very proud of our name and we wouldn't have it any other way." "The Thruxton races were good for us both. I had a good solid first race, nothing startling, but in the second I managed to finish 13th which won me the Invitation Class, which was good. Greg came 8th in the furst race and was 3rd or 4th fastest out of everyone. I think everyone was a little shocked because for me Formula BMW was quite hard work at times but the Formula 3 car suits the way I drive and I could get in the car and work with the car and people were shocked with how well we did, which was nice." Greg Mansell: "British F3 is highly respected amongst the other F3 series and next year's calendar is fantastic with four tracks from the old F1 calendar and as a driver you couldn't wish for any more. There are fantastic cars and we have a great team in Fortec supporting us and I'm just really looking forward to it, it was the right choice for us." "We had our first F3 experience when we raced at Thruxton in the last races of the year and it was very much the deep end, it rained and the track was wet and then dry all weekend. It was very difficult, we did what we could and got on quite well. We work as a team. If Leo wins and I come second, I take his victory as my own. We are a team, Fortec's our team, and we try and work together. The best way to progress quickly is to use his experience as well as my own. Leo is a lot quicker than me in some corners, he has a different driving style. We can use each other's experience to help us both learn and go faster." Richard Dutton, Team Principal, Fortec Motorsport: "It's a great honour for Fortec to be involved with Leo, Greg and Nigel. We've worked hard over the last few years in Formula 3 and it's great to have drivers signed and organised so early. We've got the test programme coming up and it is nice going into the season fully ready and organised. It's a great honour to work with Nigel and the boys. I certainly wasn't surprised by their pace at Thruxton because of the speed they were showing in testing. They both amazed me how fast they were developing. The progress was amazing, so I was not at all surprised to see them go so well at Thruxton. If you had to choose which circuit would be the hardest to have your first race it would be Thruxton and I know if it had been anywhere else they would probably have done a better job. Having said that they still did a great job that weekend and we were all very proud." Stephane Ratel: “We are very pleased to welcome Leo and Greg to British Formula 3 for 2007. British F3 has been the traditional career path for young drivers from all over the world looking towards Formula One. I’m very happy to see that Leo and Greg have decided that Britain’s premier single seater racing championship is the right place for the next step in their career development and have chosen to drive with Fortec Motorsport, a team that has tasted the victory champagne twice this year.” “We’ve seen a few famous names returning to the championship in recent years. In 2004 Nelson Piquet Jnr took six wins on his way to that year’s British F3 title, equalling his father’s achievement of 1978. This year Bruno Senna won five races, but he wasn’t quite able to match his uncle’s 1982 British F3 title achievement. In 2007 we will see if the Mansell name can return to the top step of the podium, but it won’t be easy as this year has shown that British F3 is one of the most competitive championships in the world. I look forward to seeing Leo and Greg racing in what promises to be an extremely exciting year for British Formula 3.” The 22 race Lloyds TSB Insurance Championship starts at Oulton Park on Easter Monday (9th April) and will visit all of the top race circuits in the UK concluding, at Rockingham in September. European events will include two rounds on the streets of the Romanian capital Bucharest, and two races apiece at the Formula One venues of Monza and Spa-Francorchamps.