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Hill to make comeback at Brands Hatch
3:06pm Wednesday 9th May 2012 in Sport
1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill will make his racing comeback at Brands Hatch. Picture - Volkswagen/Kräling
DAMON Hill will make his racing comeback at Brands Hatch in the DTM-supporting Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup race next weekend (May 19 and May 20).
The 1996 Formula One world champion has not competed since retiring in 1999 and he will be reunited on the track with racing friends Mark Blundell, Perry McCarthy, Julian Bailey, Martin Donnelly and David Brabham in the ultra competitive one make race series.
With the exception of Brabham ,who has been given honorary ‘Rat Pack’ status for this race, the other five drivers are all members of the 1980s racing gang who rose through the ranks of Formula Ford, Formula Three, Formula 3000 and into Formula One, giving themselves the name ‘Rat Pack’.
Through all the years of competition and ever since the drivers have remained close friends, with the period covered in McCarthy’s bestselling book ‘Flat Out, Flat Broke’.
Blundell raced for McLaren before tasting success in the US champ car series and still races GT sportscars, while Bailey enjoyed good fortunes in the British touring car championship and in sportscars before concentrating on stepson Jack Clarke’s racing career.
Donnelly’s tenure in F1 was cut short by a huge accident at Jerez, famously documented in the recent Senna motion picture, leading him into team management and development work for Lotus.
Still competing regularly in club racing, he is also entered for the Lotus Cup UK championship race at the same meeting.
All are gathering together to enjoy some healthy competition while raising money for Damon Hill’s charity, HALOW.
The project is dedicated to creating opportunities and supporting young people with a learning disability so that they are able to live independently.
The charity is named after five young people, including Oliver Hill, Damon’s eldest son.
“Perry, Julian and I are coming out of retirement for this race, so we are sure to be pretty rusty,” said Damon.
“But it promises to be a great weekend for all friends and family to get together and a great way to draw attention to the aims and objectives of the charity.
“I am looking forward to it.”
McCarthy, who instigated the reunion, is convinced they will all enjoy the experience even if some of the old rivalries return.
“We are all really good friends and we have regular reunions,” said Perry.
“This one will be a bit more serious but we are all looking forward to it. I haven’t actually sat in a racing car for eight years, so I don’t expect great things, but it will be a lot of fun and we will be ready for a party when the chequered flag is waved.”
Blundell, who topped the Legends race in 2010 and finished third overall, added: “When they asked me to race with all the Rat Pack I couldn’t say no.
“We are all such good mates there will be a lot of banter but don’t let that fool anyone, we are all going to be really racing out there.”
Tickets for the DTM at Brands Hatch on May 19 and May 20 featuring the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup are available in advance from £29 with free entry for children aged 12 and under.
For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or visit brandshatch.co.uk
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