In 1982, British F1 drivers Nigel Mansell, John Watson and Derek Daly took part in an extremely unusual competition at Donington Park
Called the ‘Austin Rover Speedstar’, this one-off 1982 event took top British competitors from the world of motorsport and pitted them against each other in a five-event cup, testing their skills in a variety of different (and slightly unusual) racing disciplines.
With future champion Nigel Mansell in the field, along with multiple race winner John Watson and former Williams driver Derek Daly, the F1 representation for this event in strong - especially once you throw in regional F1 racer Divina Galica and Le Mans legend Derek Bell, once a Formula 1 driver himself.
Things start off relatively straightforward with a rally stage - albeit not an entirely fair one as all the drivers are in completely different cars.
Then, all the drivers hop into MG Metros for a short race around Donington Park - which is kinda like a low-budget version of that Mercedes race at the Nurburgring won by Ayrton Senna - before doing an autotest. Perhaps the most grassroots form of motorsport competition there is, autotesting challenges drivers to perform a series of precision manoeuvres at low speeds in the quickest time possible. Seeing F1 drivers handbrake turn a humble Metro like they’re teenagers showing off in a Tesco car park is really something. Even better is Murray Walker’s superb commentary, which includes a rare example of him getting something wrong.
This is where things take a slightly bizarre turn. There’s a cycling race around Donington, followed by an extremely sketchy-looking motocross race which seems to cause all sorts of injuries before it’s even started. Can you imagine the likes of Lando Norris, George Russell, and Lewis Hamilton telling their teams that they’re off to race bikes in the mud? And that’s before we even get into the potential sponsor clashes.
If you’ve got 40 minutes spare (which let’s be honest, during quarantine, you probably have) then this is well worth a watch because the whole thing is just so fantastically weird.
And if you’ve got a penchant for 80s and 90s rallying of all flavours, it’s worth checking out the rest of the VHS Rallies channel. But if you’ve got things you need to do, be careful - it’s a rabbit hole of entertainment that threatens to absorb all of your free time.