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Briscoe to follow in grandfather's footsteps 12 Aug 2004

Ryan Briscoe (AUS) Toyota Test driver.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Albert Park, Australia, 5 March 2004

Toyota’s Ryan Briscoe will make his Formula One debut on Friday when he takes part in free practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Amazingly, the Australian’s grandfather, Frank Lehner, also raced in the city of Budapest 78 years ago.

Lehner was a co-driver, or riding mechanic as they were known in those days, in a Daimler-Benz in the 1926 Budapest Grand Prix at the Nepliget venue. “I’m sure my family got the racing bug in the blood from when he was racing,” Briscoe said.

Lehner was Austrian and was born in Iglau in the era of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy. The place is now called Jihlava and is part of the Czech Republic.

Briscoe’s family have photos of Lehner co-driving the Daimler-Benz in Budapest. The driver is unknown but is thought to have been a prince. Lehner also helped prepare cars for French teams in the famous Le Mans 24-hour sports car race in the 1920s. He died before Briscoe was born.

Briscoe has been elevated to third driver at Toyota for the final six races of the season following the Japanese team's decision to drop Cristiano da Matta from his race seat in favour of previous third driver Ricardo Zonta.