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Martin Brundle pays homage to Rush heroes at Snetterton

Wednesday, September 11 2013

Former Grand Prix driver and Sky TV commentator Martin Brundle returned to the wheel of Formula 1 cars today (Wednesday) at Snetterton for a special Rush-themed television feature.

Brundle sampled cars driven by F1 legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda, whose careers are featured in the Ron Howard-directed movie. The film, which contains several scenes shot at the Norfolk circuit, is on general release on Friday. A Ferrari 312 once raced by Niki Lauda and the 1977 McLaren M26, as piloted by James Hunt in period were used for the piece, in which the commentator was also joined by fellow driver-turned pundit Karun Chandhok and United Autosport's Zak Brown.

The day was particularly special for Brundle, however. "I first went to Formula 1 in the 60s," he reminisced. "But I remember the cars more from the 70s, they were so dramatic with the big, fat, wide rear wheels and were sliding around all the time. I remember peeping over the barriers at Silverstone and then at Brands Hatch and it really motivated me, so these cars mean so much.

"I also remember listening to Murray Walker and James Hunt on the TV and, of course one of the cars today was the car that James Hunt won his final Grand Prix in 1977, so it was very special to come along and have a drive in one. Not least, of course, driving it here at Snetterton where I used to pound around here day after day in my Celica Touring Car or my Reynard Formula Ford 2000 and we had a lot of fun! I love driving, I'll always be a Norfolk boy, so it's good to come back here and drive these two magnificent cars.

"The Snetterton 300 circuit worked well, the cars felt remarkably nimble through the infield, I quite enjoyed driving on the 300 in these. Out of the current F1 field I think Lewis would be good around this circuit, the toughest corner on this track I think is Hamilton, which is named after him! But they are all world class drivers and they'd be going round here at unbelievable speeds, I'd imagine."

Before leaving, Brundle, from nearby King's Lynn, praised the circuit which had as much of an impact on his early career as the F1 cars: "Snetterton's important to East Anglia and Norfolk in particular, I'm really pleased that Jonathan's developing it and smartening it up. It looks fantastic on the TV when you see it for Superbikes or the Touring Cars, so long may it live!"

The TV feature is due to be aired on the Sky F1 channel over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend (20-22 September), in the meantime you can view a gallery of the event, with photos courtesy of David Blake Photography, here.