Sir Chris, who has been taking part in trackdays over the past few years in between his bike racing and training commitments has always wanted to take the next step and start motor racing, and now he will be fulfilling that dream.
Next season he will be joining 23 other race novices as they take to the tracks in the entry level Radical to begin their instruction led training programme that culminates in eight races at some of the best circuits in the UK. A few of the other drivers who already have their new cars were also at Bedford getting getting to grips with their race cars and all were thrilled to welcome the winner of six Olympic gold medals and 11-time world champion to the Radical paddock.
‘I’ve just been out in the SR1 for the first time on a slightly greasy Beford Autodrome and it’s fantastic, I absolutely love it!' said a buzzing Sir Chris after his first run. ‘It’s challenging but exciting, and fun to drive. I think it’s the right amount of power for a driver of my ability but it’s fast – it certainly feels fast – but it’s not too intimidating…Yep, I love it.’
‘I think it’s going to take me a little time to get used to the aerodynamics, because there’s a bit of a leap of faith throwing yourself into the corner and braking later than the point you would normally brake in a car that doesn’t have the same downforce, so it’s a whole new experience. I’m starting to experience just how much grip you have with these cars.’
That said, the instructors who sat alongside him were deeply impressed by the speed with which Sir Chris learnt how to handle the 185bhp, Suzuki Hayabusa powered cars. Former Le Mans winner, Andy Wallace said: ‘He picked it all up incredibly well; he’s obviously learnt a lot on his trackdays. The advice I gave him he took onboard immediately and both his lines and technique were spot on.’
Ian Flux (pictured above, right) also took to the track with Sir Chris and came back saying: ‘He’s ready to race now. Very smooth, fast and consistent. I also noticed that when he was out with other cars his competitive instincts instantly came to the fore. Even in this very different environment I can see why he has been so successful.’
Roger Green, Radical’s Group Marketing Manager commented: ‘It’s great to have Sir Chris with us. He’s a true petrolhead who loves his cars and track driving. It’s also very exciting for the other competitors to be pitching themselves against such an iconic sportsman, I’m certain he’s going to do a great job out on track and be a yardstick for the others to measure themselves against. The interest that has been shown in this championship was already high and there are very limited places now left on the grid. I’m sure the news that one of the heroes from London 2012 will be racing with us will ensure those available places will be full very soon.’2013 SR1 Cup Dates
> Early February: ARDS licence tests and seminars
> Tuesday 12 March: Exclusive Radical Snetterton trackday with instruction and practice starts
> Wednesday 3 April: Exclusive Radical Brands Hatch trackday with instruction and practice starts
> Saturday 4 May: ‘How Fast’ timed trackday at Bedford Autodrome
> Saturday 8 June: Race Day: Brands Hatch Indy (rounds 1 and 2)
> Saturday 13 July: Race Day: Oulton Park Int. (rounds 3 and 4)
> Saturday 10 August: Race Day: Cadwell Park (rounds 5 and 6)