Former McLaren driver returning to the track

Mark Blundell, right, is taking part in his debut Avon Tyres GT British Championship. Picture by Jak

Mark Blundell, right, is taking part in his debut Avon Tyres GT British Championship. Picture by Jakob Ebrey - Credit: Archant

EX-FORMULA One racer, Mark Blundell, is gearing up for a return to motorsport as he makes his Avon Tyres British GT Championship debut at Oulton Park circuit over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Blundell, from Radlett, whose Formula One career spanned a number of years in the 1990s and included a spell at McLaren, will embark on a full season in the British GT Championship, which is boasting bumper grids for the 2013 season.

The 46-year-old will race a McLaren of an altogether different nature in the 2013 championship; racing for top team, United Autosports, the former F1 star will race a McLaren MP4-12C in the seven-round championship.

Blundell’s regular team-mate, Richard Meins, has been forced to sit out the opening race of the season after sustaining injuries to his ribs and knee in a testing accident earlier this month.

Standing in for Meins alongside Blundell will be Roger Wills, who took a GT4 class win when the series visited Spa-Francorchamps in 2011.

Speaking ahead of round one at Oulton Park, Blundell admitted he has a ‘soft spot’ for the McLaren brand.

“It’s great to be back in a McLaren; I’ve developed a good affinity with them over the years and I have a real soft spot in my heart for the McLaren marque,” he said.

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“It (the McLaren MP4-12C) is a great car; we’ve still got some work to do, but it’s progressing.”

Blundell recently returned to Oulton for the first time in 26 years and says that it’s still one of his favourite tracks.

“I’m really looking forward to racing at Oulton – it’s one of the best circuits in the UK, one of the most challenging and technical – there’s no room for error and I think when you have 30-plus sports cars around there, it’ll make for some entertaining racing.”

Oulton Park circuit plays host to the season opener of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Qualifying will take place on Saturday (March 30) afternoon, with two 60-minute sprint races being held on Bank Holiday Monday (April 1).

After Oulton Park the 10-race season moves to Rockingham on May 5.

The other races are at Silverstone (April 25), Snetterton (June 15), Brands Hatch (August 10) and Zandvoort in Hollland (September 6) before the season comes to a close at Donnington Park on October 5.