Rallycross is unique in that it uses a mixed surface track and modified road cars, currently in the UK, we have the Motor Sports Association British Rallycross Championship. You may not know that Jenson Button’s father John was a rallycross driver in the seventies and this is where Jenson got the initial buzz for racing that would propel him to his many successes.
John Button is perhaps best known for racing his 2.1 litre Colorado Beetle (so named for it’s black and yellow colour scheme) and his two best results both occurred in 1976 when he was runner-up in the Embassy/RAC-MSA British Rallycross and then again in the TEAC/Lydden Rallycross Championship.
He also raced in a 1.9 litre engine Volkswagen Golf Mk1, but it was the Beetle that he reserved his main rallycross affections for – and here you can see why. The classic Beetle would prove to be a surprisingly good vehicle for racing and drifting, with all the power and weight at the back, and the wheels at the far reaches of the car, the rear engined air-cooled bug became a regular on the racing circuit in the sixties and seventies with the likes of the Austrian company, Porsche Salzburg, ploughing the way forward in the sixties.
This film gives Jenson Button the opportunity to spend some time in his father’s shoes for an exhilarating rallycross ride with David Coulthard as his co-pilot in a 600hp 1974 Beetle. Watch as he finds out, just before firing the engine up, that the very car he’s now sitting in used to actually race against his father – you can almost feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise up.
Button Senior, who had the nickname of Papa Smurf given to him by his son due to his striking white hair, attended every single one of Jenson’s Grand Prix races – apart from a single Grand Prix in Brazil in 2001 due to illness – right up until his sad death in the south of France in January 2014.
Judging by the genuine excitement in Jenson Button’s high voice at the end of this great little film, John Button would have found mischievous delight in returning the favour and nicknaming his son Mickey Mouse. Enjoy it.
Images: retrorallycross.com, express.co.uk, autocar.co.uk