Karun Chandhok to drive Williams FW08C for Thruxton’s 50th

by James Eagles

Formula 1 is set to return to Thruxton Circuit for the first time in 25 years next month, with former HRT driver Karun Chandhok scheduled to drive Keke Rosberg‘s Williams FW08C from 1983 – the evolution of his 1982 title winning FW08.

The demonstration run is part of Thruxton’s 50th Anniversary on the 2-3 June. The weekend will also see 15 races and demonstrations from all eras – and disciplines – static displays, club reunions, live music performances and more. Additionally, the new, £2 million state-of-the-art Thruxton Centre will be opened by 1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell and the man who commentated on Mansell’s glorious campaign, Murray Walker.

“It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m really excited for the event,” commented Chandhok, who will become the first man since Damon Hill in 1993 to lap Thruxton in a Formula 1 car.

“I’ve driven the Williams FW08C a few times before. It’s a very special car with its manual gearbox and Ford DFV engine, which is probably the most important engine ever produced in Formula 1 and it still sounds as good as it did all those years ago. It’s a truly iconic piece of kit, and there aren’t many opportunities to see these legendary cars in action anymore.”

Prior to the Thruxton festivities, Chandhok – now a broadcaster with Channel 4 – will partake in the upcoming Monaco Historic Grand Prix in the FW08C as a “warm-up”, but says that he will take his first visit to Thruxton in 15 years with suitable caution.

“I’ll be giving it a blast at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix before Thruxton’s 50th, which will serve as a nice warm-up,” he added. “I’d obviously love to open it up properly, but at the same time, I’m very conscious that this car is being wheeled out of a museum for me.

“That said, as a racing driver, you’re never inclined to take it particularly easy, and I’ll certainly do my utmost to put on a real show for everybody watching.”

Chandhok has previously driven the FW08 (pictured) and FW08C. Credit: Williams Martini Racing/LAT Photographic

Chandhok expressed his excitement at a return to Thruxton, a track that he regards as “every bit as enjoyable” for spectators and drivers alike.

“The action is never anything less than spectacular, with plenty of fantastic, high-speed slipstreaming battles,” he said. “It’s a unique challenge with its bumps and big kerbs – a proper old-school track.

“I’ve not driven at Thruxton since 2003, back in my British F3 days, so it’s been a little while but I always loved racing there.

“I love coming to Thruxton to spectate, too – it’s every bit as enjoyable for fans as it is competitors. Watching at the approach to the chicane at the end of the lap and seeing the cars roaring up the hill towards you is quite a sight to behold – I thoroughly recommend it.”

Tickets are available to the public from just £12 for Saturday or £15 for Sunday. A ticket for the whole weekend can be purchased for £24 pounds, with grandstand seats for Sunday standing at an extra £5. Any children that are under the age of 15 and accompanied are subject to free admission.

For more details, visit https://thruxtonracing.co.uk/racing/50th-anniversary, or call 01264 882200, selecting ‘Option 1’.


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