The first ever Grand Prix along London’s outer ring motorway was won yesterday by new boy Wayne Norton, 22, driving a BMW for the Bowater-Hills (Top Glazing at Affordable Prices) team based in Woking. ‘I only started with the team yesterday,’ said a delighted Mr Norton, ‘I went in by train, met everyone for the first time and picked up the car which, I have to say, I do feel very comfortable with. I then drove it back to my flat in Reigate, quite slowly of course, to familiarise myself with the track.’
The race covers a distance of 47 miles over one lap, with a gap of eight hours in the middle during which time Mr Norton will be ‘keeping the sponsors happy’ by selling double glazing to pensioners. ‘That’s the bit I don’t like,’ he said, ‘but obviously the team has to be funded somehow.’
Mr Norton’s remarkable victory was a testament to his driving ability, with several daring passes on teams from Mercedes, Honda and Iveco, and one inspirational move to overtake a Ferrari which then regained the lead but retired with engine trouble soon afterwards.
He said, ‘I have to say the Toyotas weren’t as competitive as I thought they’d be, but I suppose when someone like me with a bit of fire in his belly comes along well, they’re just going to move out of the way, aren’t they. Sure they’ve got a lot of experience under their belts, but you can see from their faces that most of them haven’t got the stomach for it any more. They’re just ‘jobbers’ now, really.’
The race is set to be held every weekday for the foreseeable future with Mr Norton promising to make an attempt on the lap record each time, at least until he goes to Corfu for a week with his glamourous new girlfriend once the other members of the team have all come back from their holidays.
In the future he hasn’t ruled out a move to one of the better-funded teams. ‘Mercedes would be good,’ he said, ‘but I’ve still got a lot to learn here and a lot of experience to gain so I’ll sit tight for a while. Besides, if you drive for Mercedes, the sponsors want you to talk a lot about curtain walling or something, and I really don’t know anything about that.’