|Britain`s leading Formula 1 driver Hamilton today headlined a star-studded list of top British motor sport names at the Go Motorsport campaign`s launch at his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team`s McLaren Technology Centre.
The campaign, being funded by UK motor sport governing body the Motor Sports Association (MSA), is designed to attract new people into the sport at all levels whether as a competitor, official, spectator or volunteer. At its heart is a new website http://www.gomotorsport.net/ that explains how to become involved for beginners.
The MSA says Hamilton`s rise to fame in F1 has resulted in increased popularity in motor sport throughout the UK across its disciplines, from autotesting, rallying and karting to sprinting, hillclimbing and circuit racing.
Hamilton, currently third in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship standings, said: “It`s a great initiative to raise awareness of motor sport for one; but also to try and attract more people, more spectators and also raise awareness among small kids who have no idea they can go down to the kart track and get into the sport.
“When I went to school none of the people actually knew what I was doing. You know, I am going racing.
“They didn`t have a clue and if people knew about this there would be more people trying to get into this than there are footballers.”
Hamilton, whose own career began in karts when he was just eight years old, said participating in motor sport brings people together and encouraged individuals to use Go Motorsport to find out how they can become involved in the sport.
He added: “You don`t have to be a Formula 1 driver to be a racing driver. There are lots of other categories you can be in that aren`t as expensive, but also lots of other areas you can participate in.
“You can be a volunteer, you can be a marshal – I don`t think many people realise that the marshals do a fantastic job and the majority of them are volunteers. But without them the racing wouldn`t be possible.
“Everyone knows about football. But if they knew about motor racing and karting and how much fun you can have and also that it`s a family sport… it can really bring you together so I think for me it`s really important I am here today and it`s a pleasure.”
11 June 2008