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Button revels in rallycross outing

27 Aug 2015

McLaren’s Jenson Button swapped the smooth asphalt of a Grand Prix circuit for significantly rougher terrain on Wednesday as he sampled a contemporary world rallycross car for the first time.

The 2009 world champion, whose late father John was a leading rallycross protagonist in the 1970s and ‘80s, drove a 500bhp Mini RX Supercar at Britain’s Lydden Hill circuit - the sport’s spiritual home - as part of an upcoming feature for British F1 broadcasters the BBC.

Thirteen-time Grand Prix winner turned TV presenter David Coulthard was also in attendance, piloting a similarly current Citroen DS 3 RX Supercar.

“Today has been a mega experience and completely different to what I am used to,” grinned Button afterwards. “You need a huge amount of skill to drive these cars - on your own it’s scary enough, never mind going up against another four or five other drivers!

“World RX is an exciting championship and it’s great to see the sport growing again like it was in the eighties both in the British and on the world scene. Everybody racing in single-seaters or in circuit racing regards rallycross as very professional and a lot of fun.”

Button also took a trip down memory lane as he took to the wheel of a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle - similar to the car that his father used to finish runner-up in both the British Rallycross Championship and Lydden Hill Rallycross Championship in 1976.

“I grew up with rallycross - I used to watch my dad racing back in the mid-eighties and I used to love hearing the car,” Button reminisced. “I would not have become an F1 world champion if it hadn’t been for my dad and the grassroots of rallycross - that was where I caught the motorsport bug.

“Today has brought back some really nice memories but since then, I’ve also enjoyed watching World RX on TV. I remember seeing the footage from the Finnish round of the championship last year and today confirmed just how great it is in real life too.”

Button will return to more familiar machinery next weekend for the Formula 1 Gran Premio d'Italia 2015 at Monza.