Mansell mania: Custom BMWs honour F1’s most committed driver

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Greg Mansell, son of Formula One World Champion, Nigel Mansell, has launched a short production run of custom BMW R18s to honour his father’s successes. Until the arrival of Lewis Hamilton, Mansell was the UK’s most successful entrant into F1 taking home the world championship as well as 31 individual victories.

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He was also famous for his committed boom or bust racing style, which meant he ended up crashing out of more races than he won. It was his refusal to simply settle for second place that endeared him to fans the world over.

The bike is named Il Leone and was designed and built at The Ramp, in Jersey. The name itself is Italian for The Lion – Mansell’s nickname during his glory years racing for Ferrari. It’s to that era of racing which the bike pays tribute.

The bike has been transformed by son Greg alongside customiser Steve Burt with the pair making sweeping changes to the stock R18, its controls and the riding position, without compromising on its modern safety features.

BMW R18 Il Leone being ridden

"Like an old F1 car, our R18 custom has a sequential hand shift and foot clutch," explains Greg. "This is a challenge for the brain. You feel intimidated at first and no doubt a little afraid, but once the machine is under load, it glides with huge grip, power, and performance. Like heel and toe in a car, it gives you that added element of control and fun."

The bike marks 30 years since Nigel Mansell became World Champion and only 31 will be built with a price tag of £50,000 each, with each of the bikes dedicated to one of Mansell’s F1 victories.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.