By Paul Evans
Former Formula 1 pilot and Sky Sports F1 presenter Johnny Herbert was at Anglesey Circuit recently, testing a historic race car in preparation for the FIA Masters Historic support event at the forthcoming British Grand Prix.
The three time Grand Prix race winner plans to race the Ensign N180B, which is owned by former Force India deputy team principal and current McLaren Indy President Bob Fernley. The car has not raced since 1984.
“I haven’t driven anything of that era on a track before,” said Herbert. “I’ve driven a Lotus 72 up the hill at Goodwood, but that’s it. It all came together, and I thought I’d give it a go. The race is at Silverstone, and I’m there anyway! I’ll be trying to give it the beans, I won’t be able to help myself.”
The chassis is the one which Swiss racer Marc Surer finished fourth (and set fastest lap) in the 1981 Brazilian GP and took sixth place in Monaco. It was raced later that same year by Chilean driver Eliseo Salazar, who finished sixth at the Dutch GP.
The car subsequently returned to the UK, where Jim Crawford raced it in the 1982 British F1 Championship, scoring three wins.
Whilst in Anglesey, Herbert was also treated to a high-speed passenger ride in a rally-prepared Ford Escort Mk2, driven by local driver Eric ‘Chubby’ Roberts.