Autosport Awards 2016: Nigel Mansell wins Gregor Grant Award

Nigel Mansell, the 1992 Formula 1 world champion, was honoured with a Gregor Grant Award at the 2016 Autosport Awards.

As well as ending a 16-year title drought for British drivers with a season of then-record dominance in 1992, Mansell’s achievements in the 1980s and early 90s triggered a huge surge in UK interest in F1 – drawing vast crowds to the British Grand Prix in the era of ‘Mansell mania’.

Mansell received his Award from Olympic legend turned sportscar racer Sir Chris Hoy.

After a dogged rise through motorsport’s junior ranks, Mansell made his F1 debut with Lotus during the 1980 season, and was then part of its full-time line-up from ’81-’84.

But it was his move to Williams for 1985 that vaulted him into the thick of the storyline of one of F1’s most remarkable eras, putting him head-to-head with Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

Denied the 1986 title by a last-gasp puncture and his shot at ’87 glory by a late-season back injury, Mansell began to look as if he might be denied the championship successes of his main rivals, with a brief Ferrari stint in 1989-90 adding more heroic escapades but bringing him no closer to a title.

That changed back at Williams, when he carried momentum from an increasingly strong 1991 campaign with the active suspension car into a crushing ’92 season.

Unable to agree terms with the team to stay on for a title defence, Mansell dramatically quit F1 for the CART Indycar World Series, where he stunned America by sweeping to the title for Newman/Haas at the first attempt, adapting to oval racing instantly.

His F1 story wasn’t quite over, as he would return to Williams for four appearances in 1994 following the death of Senna – a cameo stint that included Australian GP victory – before an ultimately shortlived spell at McLaren in ’95.


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