Jenson Button is known as F1’s smoothest driver. But given the chance to pay tribute to his family’s history in a 600bhp rallycross Beetle, he took things a bit more… sideways
The scene is one of Stygian murk: gloomy skies, lashing rain, mud. But no matter, for the Kent countryside is cheered by the rorty rumble of a hopped-up atfour engine, and the gale brings a tinge of hyperactive hydrocarbons. Today Jenson Button’s personal and professional lives come full circle in more ways than one.
Not only is Jenson sliding behind the wheel of a monster Volkswagen Beetle rallycross car similar to the one in which his father campaigned during the 1970s, but we also nd ourselves at the Lydden Hill rallycross circuit in Kent, a frequent John Button stamping ground back in the day, later bought by Jenson’s McLaren team with a view to developing it into their equivalent of Ferrari’s Fiorano test track. This being South East England, the local burghers swiftly dispatched that notion into the long grass, and Lydden, which staged the world’s rst rallycross event in 1967, retained its status as Britain’s home of chaotic multi-surface motorsport.