Button walks in father’s footsteps with Rallycross run

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Jenson Button retraced his father’s footsteps when he got behind the wheel of a Rallycross car at Lydden Hill yesterday.

John Button, who died in January last year, was runner-up in the British Rallycross Championship in 1976 driving a Volkswagen Beetle.

“I grew up with rallycross,” said his son after driving a similar car at Lydden on Wednesday, “it was where it all started for me when I was four or five-years-old.”

“I used to watch my dad racing back in the mid-eighties and I loved hearing the car – it was so loud! I wouldn’t be F1 world champion if it hadn’t been for my dad and the grassroots of rallycross – that was where I caught the motor sport bug.”

Button and former F1 driver David Coulthard drove a selection of rallycross machinery as part of an upcoming feature for the BBC. The pair also sampled current machinery including a 500bhp Mini and a 600bhp Citroen DS3.

“It was a mega experience today and completely different to what I’m used to,” said Button. “Both cars were great fun to drive – they’re a lot more powerful than when my dad raced, but the same principles apply and you need real skill to master them.”

“For Jenson, I think this was a little walk down memory lane,” Coulthard reflected, “it was John Button giving up his own racing career to focus on Jenson’s that allowed him to fulfil his dreams.”

“For me, it was a fascinating, adrenaline-fuelled day. I’ve always enjoyed trying out different sports to appreciate how skilled their competitors are.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Button walks in father’s footsteps with Rallycross run”

  1. Jenson might be good at rally or rallycross imo.

  2. “Lots of overteer/understeer,” said Button to engineer.

  3. That’s very cool.

  4. The pair also sampled current machinery including a 500bhp Mini and a 600bhp Citroen DS3

    I hope Jenson was prepared for that kind of step up in power.

    1. Ouch! haha

    2. It’s ok they didn’t connect the battery!

  5. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 41 wins!!! For Jules (@)
    27th August 2015, 13:40

    I know thes events are common among drivers, even more, Jenson himself tried mount panorama some years ago. But looking at how much fun he had, as you can see in his face, and knowing how things are going on with his current season, maybe it’s tine for him to enjoy life after f1 with a nice BBC TV contract which also provides the fun he can’t have at McLaren.

  6. Amazing athlete and a great driver. Props forever man.

  7. I love the concept of Rally Cross! Went to Knockhill years ago to see an event and the highlight (apart from Jet Pack Man!) was the rally cross race, we were watching at the bit where they left the asphalt to hit the dirt. It wasn’t even the top billed race that day but it was great!

    Then I found out about the FIA World series which just started in 2014. I’m subscribed to their YouTube channel to see all the highlights as well as the Facebook page for the gossip and chat.

    The way they organise race weekends is perfect for a casual viewer to dip in and out of with short bursts of racing , and will work brilliantly in the recent Dirt video game which has a New Rally Cross add-on that I can’t wait to try.

    1. @calum it’s also on quest channel 37 on the Monday after the race in the UK.

      1. And I agree, it’s a brilliant sport, proper close sprint racing every race.

  8. I know what you’re all thinking – and the answer is no.

    It certainly wouldn’t make as much sense as retaining a racing driver grade salary, spending more time with your supermodel wife and keeping your hand in on Dunsfold aerodrome whilst freeing up your seat for a Belgian superstar. Chris is beckoning, Jenson. Go on, melt the heart of every petrolhead in the world and save our favourite show!

    1. @countrygent I hope for the sake of Button that he keeps the honor to himself and announces his retirement soon. That instead of another disrespectful treatment by McLaren like last year. Vandoorne deserves his spot more than anybody else. Alonso will need another year to realize also he will no more appear on the podium of a Formula one GP.

      1. @xtwl I fear it may already be too late for honor. Reputable sources claim that the Vandoorne move is a done deal, and that Honda are keen to sign Stoffel to a “works” contract with them, as Alonso is. Brundle was very wrong when he said Magnussen was the most likely replacement for Button during Sky’s Belgian preshow. Whilst Kevin had strong support from Ron, he said, during a meeting with Danish businesses some months ago, that Kevin would require Danish support in his search for a seat with “another team”. Vandoorne does not need any more experience before stepping into the McLaren – his long-run consistency in the MP4-30 during the Austrian test proved that.

        Button should rob McLaren of the chance to publicly announce his dismissal and preempt them with his Top Gear plans!

        1. @countrygent As much I love to see Vandoorne in F1 I hate how it’s going to be with this team at this moment in time. I’ll be cheering for my countryman but I refuse to wear McLaren colors.

    2. Keep racing, JB. Anybody can be paid to laugh at Chris Evans’s scripted jokes. Not a lot of people can do what Jenson Button does.

  9. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    27th August 2015, 17:44

    Great pictures there, and great run!

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