INTERNATIONAL racing driver and instructor Tim Matthews will take legend Nigel Mansell’s old car into the Historic World F1 Championships next year.

Matthews, of Stourport, is to drive the 1982 Formula One John Player Lotus, which was the vehicle of Upton-born Mansell in the Formula One World Championship.

The competition is over eight races throughout Europe, including circuits such as Estoril, Spa, Monza, Hockenheim and Silverstone.

Matthews was delighted to be asked recently by Classic Team Lotus owner Clive Chapman.

He said: “It’s a great honour to be asked to drive one of the most iconic F1 cars of all times.

“The stunning livery of the John Player Special Lotus F1 cars is something I always remembered from my early days in motorsport.

“To be offered the chance to compete at that level again was something I never expected to happen.

“The last 12 months has been tough. We’ve been working hard to get a circuit-based road safety training initiative for young drivers up and running and it’s cost us a huge amount of time, money and effort.

“We’ve had tremendous support from Worcestershire County Council, the police and fire service and our company Anglo American Racing now aims to roll this project out to as many youngsters as possible.

“This initiative involves not only practical training courses but also presentations based around a race-car which is taken into schools.”

New managing director Kate Senior has joined the company to take the project to another level.

She feels Matthews’ driving in Classic Formula One next year will be seen as great publicity for the road safety scheme.

Matthews added: “We have just been out to Nurburgring in Germany for the Historic Formula One race and, with up to 28 cars on the grid, competition is fierce.

“It’s going to take a bit of effort to get back to the fitness level required to compete again in Formula One.

“But my season in the Tyrrell in 2000 leaves me in no doubt of how fit I need to be to compete successfully in the world championship again.”

Anglo American Racing will also be running a team of cars in the Sports 2000 Championships and is to launch a new car for 2009 shortly.

Matthews may be in the latter years of his racing career but he remains as enthusiastic as ever and will continue to lead the team, encouraging new drivers into the sport.

Any companies interested in supporting Matthews or in the road safety initiative can talk to Senior on 01299-250927.