Chris Hoy to compete on Formula One track

Cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy is set to swap two wheels for four to compete in a race on a Formula One track.

The Olympic champion will show off his driving skills during a celebrity competition on the Australian Grand Prix circuit in Melbourne.

The Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge is being held as a curtain raiser to the opening race of this year’s F1 season, with others taking part including Australian gold medal-winning cyclist Anna Meares.

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Sir Chris, 36, is a huge motor-racing fan and revealed he had harboured ambitions to become a fully-fledged racing driver. British race ace Lewis Hamilton is also in Melbourne with his Mercedes, preparing for the weekend’s racing.

Sir Chris has flown to Australia for three days of intensive training before the first of three races on Friday.

He said: “As a massive F1 fan, this is an incredible opportunity and I can’t wait to race on the Albert Park circuit in the celebrity grand prix.

“It’s the thing I have been looking forward to most this year and I’m very excited about it. I’m the only Brit taking part so I hope to do well.

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“I’m delighted with the car and I’m about to start training to get me ready for the race.”

The six-time Olympic gold medallist enjoys dabbling in car racing, but is hoping to avoid a repeat of his performance at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire last year, where he spun and hit a tyre wall.

He escaped without injury, but his beloved £40,000 Lotus 2-Eleven needed substantial repairs.

The Edinburgh Freeman – who fronted a BBC documentary about former world rally champion Colin McRae earlier this year – has also signed up for the 2013 Radical SR1 Cup, where he will compete against 23 other novices at some of the UKs most famous circuits, including Brands Hatch.

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He has been installed as the favourite for the Melbourne race and told how he would most like to beat Meares, who pipped his team-mate Victoria Pendleton to gold at London 2012.

He added: “I’d like to beat Anna because I’ve never had the chance to race against her in all the years we’ve competed alongside each other.”

Others taking part include actor Jonathon LaPaglia, singer Sarah DeBono, former cricketer Brad Hodge and TV presenter Scott McGregor.

Former motorsport racer Mark Skaife, who will be 
training the drivers, said: “Those involved in the Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge will be, by nature, quite competitive.

“They all want to do well, and it is our job to teach them how to stay safe and enjoy the experience while keeping them under control – which can be quite a challenge at times.”

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