Olympic track cycling superstar Sir Chris Hoy, MBE will be paying special tribute to his boyhood hero – the late Colin McRae – at next month’s Wales Rally GB (3-6 October), the UK’s round of the thrilling 2019 FIA World Rally Championship.
Great Britain’s joint most-successful Olympic athlete of all time will be honouring his fellow Scot when he slips behind the wheel of a magical Subaru Impreza – a title-winning icon rallied successfully by the great McRae himself.
This extraordinary tribute to the man who lost his life in a helicopter accident almost 11 years ago, will come to Oulton Park on Thursday 3 October.
The popular Cheshire venue is hosting the opening competitive speed test of this year’s Wales Rally GB and Hoy’s evocative homage will be the perfect curtain-raiser to the arrival of the WRC cars and stars later in the afternoon.
The 43-year-old from Edinburgh has no fewer than 11 world championship plus six Olympic gold medals to his name. Since stepping off the saddle in 2013, Hoy has been fuelling his massive passion for motorsport – most prominently when finishing the famous Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016.
He attributes this unquenchable fervour for four-wheeled competition almost entirely to watching McRae’s swashbuckling heroics on television as a teenager.
“All young boys dream of racing cars, but it was really Colin McRae and rallying that got me into motorsport as a teen,” admits Hoy. “He was just an awesome driver to watch and he became one of my all-time sporting heroes – so much so, that I made a Racing Legends television programme on his remarkable achievements for BBC Two a few years ago.”
“He was the best driver of his time and the first-ever British driver to win the World Rally Championship title… but it was the way he did it that made him so special. You couldn’t fail to be excited by his approach: full commitment; maximum attack; absolutely flat-out – just spectacular.”
At the Dayinsure Oulton Park Stage which kicks off this year’s Wales Rally GB under the floodlights, Hoy will be driving the iconic blue Impreza in which his idol won Rally Spain in 1996, thus helping Subaru to clinch a second manufacturers’ world crown.
The title winning car is still in the care of Prodrive, the revered organisation which originally prepared and ran the celebrated machines.
“This is a childhood dream come true and I’m now massively looking forward to it,” enthuses Hoy. “Colin was an inspiration to me, as well as I’m sure to countless others, so I’m truly honoured to be playing a small role in keeping the McRae legacy alive today.”
Hoy’s presence on track is just one of many attractions on offer to the many thousands of fans flocking to Oulton Park. Gates open at 3pm and visitors of all ages will be treated to some great afternoon entertainment, whetting appetites for the eagerly-awaited WRC’s arrival.
The current generation of the world’s top drivers arrive straight from the Ceremonial Start in Liverpool, first to recce the competitive stage in their rally cars and then to compete against-the-clock.
Meanwhile, stunt drivers will be wowing the crowds and stage sponsor Dayinsure is hosting a special Family Zone providing a wide selection of interactive attractions for visitors of all ages.
Other attractions at Oulton Park include autograph sessions with past and present rally legends, big screens, pyrotechnics, commentary and an eye-catching display of historic rally cars to mark the event’s 75th running.
The Autocar 75th Rally GB showcase will feature cars as rallied in period by all the greats including multiple home winners Roger Clark and Richard Burns plus, of course, Colin McRae who scored three home victories in 1994, 1995 and 1997.
All tickets for Oulton Park must be purchased in advance by 30 September with adult admission priced at just £25 with hospitality also available for those seeking the ultimate experience.
A wide selection of tickets for the remaining 21 special stages that follow in Wales on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are also on sale with prices starting at £15 for the family-friendly Saturday evening speed test on the Colwyn Bay seafront.
Full details can be found on the official www.walesrallygb.com website.