NEEDELL GETS BMW OUT­ING AT THRUXTON

Racer and TV per­son­al­ity to con­test Pro­duc­tion Cham­pi­onship fi­nale in E30

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Jack Cozens

For­mer grand prix driver and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Tiff Needell will race in the fi­nal round of the Pro­duc­tion BMW Cham­pi­onship at Thruxton next week­end.

Needell, who en­tered two F1 grands prix in 1980 with the Uni­part Rac­ing team, qual­i­fy­ing for one, will race a BMW E30 with Graves Mo­tor­sport at the Hamp­shire cir­cuit this Satur­day.

The E30 is the same one that was driven at the pre­vi­ous round of the sea­son at Sil­ver­stone by Au­tosport grand prix ed­i­tor Ben An­der­son.

Needell also raced in an Austin A35 in the St Mary’s Tro­phy race at the Good­wood Re­vival ear­lier this month, but will head to Thruxton with­out hav­ing tested the car, which he will race in the cham­pi­onship’s Class F cat­e­gory.

“I don’t know much at all about the car; I don’t even know what model I’m driv­ing,” said Needell, who presents the Fifth Gear TV show.

“They have about 30 cars. It should be men­tal and it seems to be a great set up. Thruxton’s my favourite track, so to be rac­ing in a nice rear-wheel-drive sa­loon should be per­fect.

“It’s bril­liant that we’ve got un­timed prac­tice, qual­i­fy­ing and three races in one day. It sounds like mega fun. I could be in trou­ble if they’re all at me – but I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it.”

Graves Mo­tor­sport owner Karl Graves said: “One of our other driv­ers, Rob Manger, is an in­struc­tor at Thruxton and does some work there with Tiff. They’ve been in con­ver­sa­tion about Tiff rac­ing and Rob asked if we could pro­vide a car.

“It was a big yes straight away, there was no hes­i­ta­tion on our part. It’s great for Graves Mo­tor­sport as well as the club and the cham­pi­onship to have such a high-pro­file char­ac­ter on-board.”

“We did so for Adam Mor­gan at Don­ing­ton Park last year and be­cause we’d done that, we were asked whether we wanted to run Tiff.

“He hasn’t had a chance to test the car – he’s go­ing to be go­ing straight into the car and straight out onto the cir­cuit.”

Pho­tos: Mick Walker, LAT, Jakob Ebrey

Needell will drive An­der­son’s E30 Star was in ac­tion at Good­wood re­cently

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