British Formula One stars Jenson Button and David Coulthard today visited Lydden Hill â€“ home to the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy â€“ as both drivers tested a pair of Supercars as part of a BBC F1 feature which will be aired later this year. Button, whose father John competed in rallycross in the 1970s, spoke of an â€œunbelievable experienceâ€ while Coulthard acknowledged the huge talent of World RX drivers.
Button took a trip down memory lane as he took to the wheel of a 1974 VW Beetle â€“ similar to the car that his late father used to race in the British Rallycross Championship. He later swapped to drive a JRM Racing prepared MINI RX Supercar while 13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard took to the track in the Citroen DS3 RX Supercar that Britainâ€™s Liam Doran currently uses in World RX.
â€œToday has been a mega experience and completely different to what I am used to,â€ grinned Button after jumping out of the JRM MINI. â€œYou need a huge amount of skill to drive these cars â€“ on your own itâ€™s scary enough, never mind going up against another four or five other drivers! World RX is an exciting Championship and itâ€™s great to see the sport growing again like it was in the eighties both in the British and on the world scene. Everybody racing in single-seaters or in circuit racing regards rallycross as very professional and a lot of fun.â€
The 2009 Formula One Champion also took a moment to reminisce about his childhood as Button spoke fondly of the time he spent as a child in the rallycross paddock: â€œI grew up with rallycross â€“ I used to watch my dad racing back in the mid-eighties and I used to love hearing the car. I would not have become an F1 World Champion if it hadnâ€™t been for my dad and the grassroots of rallycross â€“ that was where I caught the motorsport bug. Today has brought back some really nice memories but since then, Iâ€™ve also enjoyed watching World RX on TV. I remember seeing the footage from the Finnish round of the Championship last year and today confirmed just how great it is in real life too.â€
BBC F1 commentator Coulthard is no stranger to World RX having gone head-to-head with Petter Solberg in a Marklund Motorsport Polo RX Supercar at last yearâ€™s Race of Champions.
â€œRallycross is highly skilled – the drivers have to deal with an ever-evolving mix of asphalt and gravel that changes from lap to lap. I have tremendous respect for rallycross drivers, because there are just so many more variables,â€ explained the Scotsman, who also attended last yearâ€™s Norwegian RX round in Hell.
Coulthard echoed Buttonâ€™s comments about the growth of the sport admitting heâ€™s a big fan of RX. â€œI think itâ€™s a great Championship and itâ€™s fantastic to try rallycross which has made me appreciate how skilled the guys are at driving these cars. Itâ€™s great to see that the Championship is growing so much too. Iâ€™ve watched it a bit in the past year but you canâ€™t play at this sport â€“ it has serious world-class competition. Iâ€™d absolutely recommend anyone to come along and watch rallycross â€“ the racing is fantastic and being here in person is the only way you can truly appreciate the skill of the drivers and the power of these terrific machines.â€
Round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship â€“ the Bretagne World RX of France â€“ takes place at Loheac in France next week (4-6 September).