Race winner Mat Jackson is the latest of the current crop of British Touring Car drivers to join the growing grid lists for this year's Silverstone Classic powered by the AA.
Jackson, who drives a Ford Focus for Redstone Racing in the BTCC, is to drive another red Ford on the Silverstone Classic weekend (July 20-22) when he races the Ford Lotus Cortina in the iconic red and gold livery of Alan Mann Racing.
“I've tested the Cortina and it made me feel like Jim Clark,” said Jackson. “I was up on three wheels through every corner which felt strange but very exciting.”
“With the Cortina there's the lack of grip with cross-ply tyres, the all-round vision isn't great, there's a lot of whining from the four-speed manual gearbox and the brakes are, how shall we say, vagueâ€¦ I absolutely love it!”
Jackson's driving the car is made all the more noteworthy as the Under 2-litre Touring Car race he will compete in have been dedicated to the memory of team boss Mann, who passed away earlier this year. Jackson will share the car in the 50-minute race with Henry Mann, son of Alan, but it is not just Alan who will bring a family history with Fords to team. As well as Jackson's current exploits in his turbocharged S2000 Focus his family have run a Ford dealership, with Mat's father having worked from the Broadspeed team – one of Alan Mann Racing's toughest rivals.
Part of a packed program of events taking place on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit more than 50 cars are expected to line up against Jackson and Mann including other Lotus Cortinas, Mini Coppers and Alfa Romeo GTAs.
Jackson enthuses; “I cannot wait for the Classic – it's certainly up there with the British Grand Prix and Goodwood as one of British motor sport's 'blue riband' events. I'm quite optimistic about our chances and Henry's fairly rapid but let's wait and see who's on the final entry list. It's going to be quite a little adventure being in among a grid of that size. Hopefully I've not painted a target on my car like it sometimes feels in the BTCC.”
Jackson joins fellow BTCC wheelmen Rob Austin and Frank Wrathall on the list of big names entering the Classic races, Austin planning to enter the Grand Prix Masters races in his ex-Alan Jones Surtees where as Wrathall will race James Kaye's Supertouring Vauxhall Cavalier in the two Fujifilm Touring Car Trophy added to the weekend for 2012.