Nigel Mansell’s achievements celebrated at LCCS

01/03/2018

Nigel Mansell's achievements celebrated at The London Classic Car Show 18th February 2018

Nigel Mansell CBE is ranked as one of the most successful British F1 racing champions of all time so when the London Classic Car Show announced that he'd be appearing at the event this year, the response was fantastic.  I visited the LCCS on Sunday 18th February 2018 and had just begun viewing cars at the ExCeL when suddenly the noise of a roaring engine drew me away to the Grand Avenue where a selection of cars were being driven.  The familiar F1 theme tune ‘The Chain' played in the background and spectators were pumped up watching the great Nigel Mansell giving a thrilling demonstration in an F1 racing car.  It was similar to being at a Grand Prix circuit when Nigel spun the car around and sparks flew out from the rear of the car as the tyres screeched on the Grand Avenue.

I then darted over from the Grand Avenue to the Supagard theatre where fans had flocked to see the motorsport legend Nigel Mansell being interviewed by Henry Hope-Frost, a well respected motoring journalist and presenter.  This was the first time I'd seen Nigel in person and without his recognisable moustache that he'd had for many years and, he seemed to be as popular as ever.

Nigel spoke about the early stages of his career from the late 70's and showed gratitude towards Colin Chapman for giving him the opportunity with Lotus cars.  Colin was a leading designer/engineer & founder of Lotus who became a significant role model for Nigel.  Nigel described Colin as "a second father and incredible engineer" and he was apparently very charismatic.  Nigel thought that others in the motorsport industry he'd worked for weren't as honourable as Colin who'd provided Nigel with a cheque for £70,000 to mortgage a house in a time of need.

Nigel commented on close calls and crashes that had occurred due to barriers being on the edge of the circuit and he said safety standards have improved as barriers aren't so close now which benefits today's F1 drivers.  On reflection Nigel couldn't believe how he had come through some life threatening situations for example, when he'd participated in a Grand Prix for the first time.  Nigel hadn't driven a particular F1 car before and much to his dismay he discovered that the fuel cell in the car was leaking.  He'd spent forty laps with chemical burns and was submerged in a pool of fuel.  He realised his bottom had burnt and had to be doused in gallons of water to cool off!  Nigel suffered a terrible ordeal as he wasn't able to sit down for three weeks whilst the severe burns healed.  Although he endured a series of dangerous incidents while motor racing, the resilient Nigel persisted in the sport with strong will and determination like a true trooper. 

Apart from mishaps during his career, Nigel was able to appreciate the perks that came with being a renowned F1 driver.  Some of these perks included being given a new Ducati motorbike and, a Ferrari Testarossa when Nigel provided useful feedback to Ferrari's designer following a test drive.  Nigel thoroughly enjoyed his experience working for Ferrari, he remarked ‘'that's what Ferrari does, it changes you...they are so passionate about their racing...where else in the world can you walk into an Italian restaurant and never pay for a meal...there's so many fantastic stories about Ferrari."

It was an intriguing insight into Nigel Mansell's career and after the interview the audience were invited to meet him so I joined the long queue of fans and media.  Nigel an affable gentleman was pleased to spend time greeting his supporters therefore it was a highlight of the day and a pleasure meeting him at the show.

Nigel Mansell also won The London Classic Car Show Icon Award and was presented with his trophy on the Grand Avenue. Some of the F1 cars he'd raced in over the years were on display at the LCCS.

Whilst spending some time at The Paddock, I got to see some of the cars close up before they were taken for a spin including a racing car formerly driven by another F1 racing legend Michael Schumacher.

At every turn there were formidable collections of cars exhibited so once again being at the LCCS was a hugely gratifying experience and I felt fortunate to be present at such a well-planned automotive event. The photos I took at the show speak for themselves.

Thanks to Jonathan Gill & team at MPA Creative.

Since the London Classic Car Show took place in 2018 we were all saddened to hear that Henry Hope-Frost, a very accomplished and knowledgeable motoring journalist/presenter who interviewed Nigel Mansell at the LCCS unexpectedly passed away in a road accident.  Our thoughts and sympathy go out to Henry's family and friends and he'll always be remembered in the world of motorsport.

© Article and photos below by Gina Chrysanthou

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                                              Gina Chrysanthou and Nigel Mansell

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                                              Franck Loizeaux and Nigel Mansell

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                                             Nigel Mansell and Henry Hope-Frost

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                 Nigel Mansell's Formula Ford Crosslé 1977

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   Nigel Mansell's Lotus 91 - Italian Grand Prix Monza Italy 1982

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      1988 Porsche 962 presented by Duncan Hamilton ROFGO

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         Nigel Mansell's 1992 F1 Williams-Renault FW14B

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   Ferrari 250 GT Drogo showcased by The Old Racing Company

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                                  Corvette Stingray

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   1972 Porsche 911 S2.4 (S/T 2.8) showcased by Gmund Cars

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One of the cars being auctioned by COYS - a 2003 Noble M12 GTO

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A vintage Aston Martin DBS being restored by Richards of England

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               Mercedes-Benz 190SL showcased by Joe Macari

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P                          Porsche Carrera Abarth GTL

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  Batmobile featured in 1989 film Batman - London Motor Museum

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1970's Lamborghini Miura Jota showcased by Cheshire Classic Cars

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                            1966 Mercedes-Benz 250SE

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      Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV showcased by Joe Macari

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            Ferrari 355 Spider F1 showcased by Joe Macari

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                  Porsche, 911 1996 993 GT2 Race Car

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     1930's BMW 328 Roadster exhibited by BMW Car Club GB

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Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Boat Tail 1924 exhibited by Pilkington Classics

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                           Rolls Royce Silver Wraith 1952

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Ferrari 250 TR 1959 showcased by The Old Racing Car Company

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A 1983 Jaguar XJS previously owned by the late Princess of Wales and exhibited by Jaguar XJS Club

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            Mercedes-Benz 190SL restored by Hilton & Moss

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      1950's BMW 507 Roadster exhibited by BMW Car Club GB

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  Jaguar E Type Series 1 Roadster 10 restored by Hilton & Moss

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    Morgan racing car showcased by Richard Thorne Classic Cars

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    Ferrari 365 GT/4 Berlinetta Boxer showcased by Joe Macari

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   TVR Cerbera 4.5 V8 - "Savage Beauty" showcased by Str8six

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            Lamborghini LM002 also known as 'Lambo Rambo'

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                               Ford Mustang Boss 302

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                               Ford Zepyhr 6 (1953)

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        1934 Rolls Royce 20/25 Gurney Nutting Sedanca Coupe

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                          1962 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

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1993 Benetton 193B F1 racing car driven previously by Michael Schumacher

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                Jaguar E-Type exhibited by Equipe GTS

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The London Classic Car Show Sunday 18th February 2018

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