Mansell's backing for racing star Rupert

BRITISH motor racing legend Nigel Mansell is backing Little Blakenham's Rupert Svendsen-Cook to follow in the footsteps of Formula One's new kid on the block Lewis Hamilton.

BRITISH motor racing legend Nigel Mansell is backing Little Blakenham's Rupert Svendsen-Cook to follow in the footsteps of Formula One's new kid on the block Lewis Hamilton.

The 16-year-old made a promising start to his Formula BMW UK Championship career at the weekend, finishing 15th in both races, at the season's opener at Brands Hatch.

And Mansell is convinced the rookie possesses the necessary ammunition to one day compete on the world stage alongside Hamilton.

“There's no better stepping-stone for Rupert than this series,” said Mansell. “Rookie drivers get the perfect introduction into the world of motor sport and what is needed to progress.

“Having two seasons in this series is the perfect start to a successful career for any aspiring young driver and that includes Rupert.

“Lewis Hamilton's performances in F1 so far this season have lifted everybody in British motor sport-- he's a great inspiration to the likes of Rupert.

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“This may be a starter series but it's so important for all of the driver's careers. Seeing the likes of Lewis Hamilton getting a chance should fill him with hope.

“There are some very astute drivers involved in this competition and this year everybody will fancy their chances of winning the title.”

Svendsen-Cook, who races for Team Loctite, will compete in 18 races around the country this season, before turning his attentions to November's World Final.

The St Joseph's College pupil's place on the grid was only confirmed 10 days before the Championship and after a series of hastily arranged test sessions the youngster admitted he was happy to be thrown in at the deep end.

“I didn't have time to get nervous like the other drivers and two top 15 finishes is a great start considering how much testing I've had,” said Svendsen-Cook.

“I tested the BMW at the start of January and was quite quick but I didn't secure a budget until a fortnight ago.

“It's been a hectic couple of weeks since and I am shattered but it was a great experience.

“I'm really pleased with the results and this gives me a great platform to build-on. Our target is to consolidate in the first couple of rounds and then push towards the top ten at the end of the season.

“That would represent a good season and then we can push for a shot at the title next year.”

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