Another legendary name is featured here today for your enjoyment (and ours). Nigel Mansell who has just celebrated his 64th birthday, was racing other legends such as Senna and Prost during his time as the Formula one world champion as well as Indy car champion.
Nigel Ernest James Mansell was born in Upton – on- Severn in the heart of England to Eric and Joyce Mansell on August 8th 1953; the third of four children. His childhood was fairly nomadic with many house and school moves due to his father’s employment.
Academically Nigel was fairly average, however his competitive and determined spirit was already evident. He swapped Latin for chess after proving he was capable of making it into the school team, no mean feat. This competitiveness stayed with him during sports lessons – losing at games was already not an option.
His experience as the new boy at so many different schools made him tougher, the intimidation he endured during these years made him cope with all life could throw at him and rather than just overcome hurdles he learnt to stride them with confidence. Something he does to this day.
The route to complete success is never easy and Nigel Mansell overcame more hurdles than most; including limited finances and serious injuries. Sheer grit, determination and self belief coupled with his driving skills ensured that his ambition was bound to become reality.
Nigel became a fully fledged F1 driver in 1981 with the Lotus team. He received his first podium after just 5 races – a sign of things to come!
Formula 1 Just 4 years later in 1985, Brands Hatch saw his first win. A year later in Adelaide the tyre of the Williams Honda exploded costing him a race finish – and more importantly the coveted World Championship by a single point.
1989 saw Nigel in the scarlet red car – number 27 FERRARI. He was the last driver to be picked by Enzo Ferrari and this proved to be a wise choice for the late team owner. Nigel was nicknamed Il’ Leone for his aggressiveness on the race track winning on his first time out for the Italian team in Brazil – A truly memorable race weekend.
Nigel returned to the Williams team in 1991 with the sole goal of winning the World Championship. The 91 season was successful and the following year on the 16th August – his daughter Chloe’s birthday – in Hungary he won the long awaited moment: to stand on the podium as the 1992 Formula 1 World Champion. Has Formula 1 been the same since?
He also officially became an Indy car driver in 1993. Indy car was heavier and slower than F1 and took adjusting to. Nigel learnt and adjusted and drove fast. It took him 12 years of trying to win the F1 world championship. He won the Indycar title on his first attempt.
Nigel had always played golf as a means of focusing and relaxing, however as he was no longer racing he swapped his ambition from one type of driving to another and his desire to succeed once again kicked in. As with racing he practised hard and was determined to win.
Nigel Mansell is the president of UK youth which is a charity that provides tools to build young people’s self esteem, aptitude, skills and knowledge to evaluate workers strengths and identify areas of development. They enable workers to tackle the difficulties young people experience, be they behavioural or circumstantial and to find practical solutions that encourage young people to take an active part in their own learning.
Source; Nigel Mansell.co.uk
Books on Nigel Mansell here.
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More featured drivers here.