Former F1 champion Nigel Mansell is the latest superstar to join the lineup for the South African Masters race, which be contested, in conjunction with the Altech SA Formula 1x2 Grand Prix, at Kyalami in November.

Former F1 champion Nigel Mansell is the latest superstar to join the lineup for the South African Masters race, which will be held in conjunction with the Altech SA Formula 1x2 Grand Prix at Kyalami in November.


Former F1 champion Nigel Mansell is the latest superstar to join the lineup for the South African Masters race, which will be held in conjunction with the Altech SA Formula 1x2 Grand Prix at Kyalami in November.


On November 11 to 13, several F1 legends, including Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil), Alain Prost (France), Riccardo Patrese (Italy), Alan Jones (Australia), Stefan Johansson (Sweden), Andrea de Cesaris (Italy), René Arnoux (France), Jan Lammers (Netherlands) and Christian Danner (Germany) will square off in the first single seater Grand Prix to be held on African soil since the South African GP in 1993 (which was won by four-time grand prix champion Prost).


However, the billing for the Grand Prix Masters became even more glamorous on Thursday when it was announced that 1992 F1 World Champion and 1993 IndyCar title-winner Mansell (52) had signed a long-term contract to participate in the Grand Prix Masters series.


Next month, Mansell will test 447-kW Grand Prix Masters car at the Spanish circuit of Jerez. In addition to November's inaugural race in South Africa, Grand Prix Masters will confirm shortly between four and five races for the 2006 championship calendar, with both European and non-European venues expected.


"Since winning the F1 World Championship with Williams back in 1992 and eventually retiring from full time single seater racing in 1995, I have spent valuable time with my family. (But) the hunger and desire to go racing, however, never leaves your blood, but the right opportunity has never really come along, until now that is," Mansell said. " It's one thing to be reacquainting myself with adversaries such as Prost, Fittipaldi and Patrese but throw in the added bonus of 320 km/h Grand Prix cars on legendary race tracks and you have the ingredients for what will be spectacular racing and the start of a very special championship indeed. The rivalry between us all will be no different from those glory days back in the '80s and '90s, but given the challenges this time round, the demands of racing will be tougher for all concerned".


In response to the announcement, legendary F1 team boss Sir Frank Williams (Mansell's former employer) said: "To think of Nigel climbing back into a race car today gives me goose bumps because I know he will be no less committed and no less determined to win! Nothing will have changed that very essence of competition that is so deeply engrained in him. I will watch with interest!"


Northampton-based Delta Motorsports is developing the GPM racing cars and a series of test sessions are scheduled from next month. GPM have applied for FIA sanctioning and, in the meantime, continue to work very closely with the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC), which provides counsel on matters pertaining to sporting code, technical regulations and race control.


The week leading up to the Altech Grand Prix will kick off with the LG Xtreme Sports Show at the Coca Cola Dome in Randburg on November 4, where visitors can mingle with BMX stars, Freestyle motor cross experts and skateboarding specialists.


The action will then move indoors to the “Unite of the Stars” gala banquet, the official opening of the Altech South African Grand Prix, where international pop diva Diana Ross will join a sparkling list of local and international stars, including Danny K, Nianell and the Soweto Gospel Choir at the Coca-Cola Dome.


Two GPM race cars and an F1x2 race car will be put through their paces around the streets of Sandton City on Thursday 10 and the official test and timing sessions will take place at Kyalami on the Friday 11 and Saturday 12. A formula Vee international qualifier and supercar race are also on the event programme.


Sunday's activities start with the first leg of the Altech SA F1x2 race, and then the main event - the inaugural SA Altech Grand Prix Masters race, over 50 laps.


Altech SA Grand Prix supports Unite Against Hunger and The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in the fight against HIV/Aids. Tickets for the Altech SA Grand Prix are available at Shoprite Checkers, Checkers-Hyper, Money Market Counters and through Computicket.