I have to admit, when I begun to try and find a driver and management company I could work with, I was attracted to the surname of the young Scott Mansell.
Of course, after I blew the dust off and had a quick read of my Nigel Mansell – 1992 Formula One World Champion paperpack, I confirmed that Scott was not the name of Nigel’s son I had remembered.
It’s undoubted that as Nigel won his one World Championship a six year old Scott will have watched in awe having already started karting himself, but it seems Scott has undoubtedly had to make a name for himself, all by himself.
This is a man who holds lap records across Europe, who is the youngest driver to have ever tested a F1 car and has already begun to experience life on the other side of the Atlantic.
So let’s go back to where it all started and profile the career that’s set to blossom any time now.
Scott’s career began with karting at the age of five. In 1996 after he had gained experience he raced at the Birmingham Wheels, Chasewater and Silverstone circuits, showing massive skill levels right from the start.
He finished third in the Silverstone British Kart GP and won (as a rookie) in his first race at the Chasewater track, also winning the Championship based at the track in the same season.
In 1997, Scott has perfected his skills behind the wheel of a cadet kart, finishing at Three Sisters, Shennington and Chasewater much better than expected in every race at these well known British proving grounds, with three recorded wins.
For the next three years, Scott used a Junior TKM Kart, in 1998 racing at Rowrah, Shennington and Three Sisters once again, recording great finishes the whole season, including two recorded wins.
1999 would be a bit of a learning experience it seems, as Scott visited three tracks for the first time and didn’t get a recorded win. He raced at Rowrah, Clay Pigeon, Larkhall and PF International, finishing well but never getting on the top step.
As the calendars turned into a new millenium, Scott Mansell came into his own, his last full year in karting was full of achievement. Scott raced that year at PF, Rowrah and Three Sisters, grabbing two wins. But overall his consistency in finishing on the podium would see him also finish second in the points championship at PF International.
Aged just fifteen, Scott moved into a 600cc Formula Honda. Making a big impact right away, Scott managed to qualify fifth and finish third in the first race at Oulton Park with just two hours time in the car before the event. He had learnt quickly.
Before the season had finished, Scott had also managed to grab a Pole Position for himself and finished second in the championship overall.
That 2001 season also saw a love affair begin with the Brands Hatch circuit, Mansell would finish all three Formula Honda events there in third, while also entering a Eurocar event there too for a first experience with a closed wheel chassis.
But it was to be the 2002 motorsport season that would see Scott Mansell compete on a truly worldwide selection of circuits.
Driving a 1991 Reynard 91D, an F3000 car, Scott took Pole Position in every race he tried to, also taking two wins, at Most and Zandvoort. These great performances gave Scott the F3000 MSA EuroBOSS Championship in his rookie season.
Many around the series were noting that Scott was out-qualifying and out-racing some of the F1 class cars on track at the same time, something not seen very often in the EuroBOSS series and a mark of the ability the youngster has at this time.
In the same season, Scott competed in South Africa at the Zwartkops and Killarney complexes in the F600 class, in his three races finishing first, second and third respectively.
Also, returning to the track that had treated him so well previously, Scott entered the Monoposto Festival at Brands Hatch, entering two races where he qualified on Pole and managed second and third place finishes.
In preparation for the forthcoming EuroBOSS season where he would be racing the powerful machine, Scott also tested a Benetton B197 fitted with a 700+BHP Judd V10 engine, becoming the youngest driver ever to test an F1 car, at sixteen.
The 2003 season itself seems to have been another learning year, as Scott was busy taking part in a Formula Ford test programme he entered just two rounds of the EuroBOSS Championship, finishing second and third in races at Donington Park, setting another record as the youngest driver to race an F1 car at age seventeen.
In 2004, the world was made to sit up and take notice as Scott swept the racing world under the carpet and proudly walked ontop of it.
Scott set outright lap records at the Silverstone (National), Donington (National), Lausitzring (GP) and Zolder (GP) circuits on his way to a dominating four wins from eight starts. He would also break the outright record at Brands Hatch (Indy) circuit, taking Adrian Fernandez Champ Car record out of the books. Oh and let’s not forget he took seven Pole Positions from those eight races too.
Awards came quickly as the season wound down and Scott took the EuroBOSS F1 Championship, becoming the youngest ever driver to win a race and championship in an F1 car.
Scott was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the Midlands and was nominated for both the BRDC Autosport McLaren Young Driver of the Year Award and the Autosport Club Driver of the Year Award. He also completed the Arden International F3000 Driver Evaluation Programme, giving him access to current F3000 machines in 2005.
2005 has seen Scott appear in some radically different types of machinery, including sportcars.
Scott was entered into the Porsche Carrera Cup for two races at Silverstone as a guest, he astounded onlookers, finishing the races in third and eighth respectively, in a large field of cars. With very little practice and no time in the car previously, it’s noticable that Scott can almost instantly get ontop of the car.
In the middle of May 2005, Scott took part in an Italian F3000 race at Imola. Having never driven the car or the track before, Scott’s fifth place in practice and sixth place in the race was quite a performance in a closely contested championship.
But, the big move for 2005 was the one Scott made across the Atlantic to enter a race at Infineon with Marco Andretti, in the Infiniti Pro Series. He impressed with a third fastest time in practice and a solid sixth place run on the cards, the only dissapointment was that the car had a mechanical problem. It was only after the race had ended that the cause was found to be a fault within the rollbar, it had made the car impossible to drive due to an unpredictable balance, but Scott had still done wonders.
As a fan of motorsport both historic and modern, I must say that I am impressed by Scott. His ability to drive anything he tries so quickly is fantastic, I don’t know of many other drivers capable of this in modern times. His skills take my mind back to when drivers entered varying races across the globe, when people like Jim Clark would hope across the Atlantic to run when and where he could because he loved the conversation between tyre and track…
More information on Scott Mansell can be found at ScottMansell.com. I’d like to thank Richard Barrow and Race Strategy Management for their co-operation on this career profile.
Photos by Gary Hawkins, Race Strategy Management and Claudio Signon.