Villas-Boas goes rallying: Other prominent names that have turned to motorsport

6th May 2021, 5:11am
3 min read
Villas-Boas goes rallying: Other prominent names that have turned to motorsport
Image credit: Red Bull Content Pool
  • Football manager to make rallying debut in Portugal
  • Villas-Boas joins a list of names familiar who have gone racing
  • Olympic athletes, TV personalities and businessmen all get the racing bug

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea football manager Andre Villas-Boas will compete in the World Rally Championship WRC3 round in Portugal on 20-23 May.

Having also competed in the Paris Dakar Rally, the Portuguese manager is far from the first prominent celebrity to go turn their hand to motorsport in recent years, with several stars from the world of TV and sport choosing to race in the UK recently. Here are some other examples of notable names to take to the race track:

Sir Chris Hoy

Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy began his motorsport career after hanging up his cycling helmet after the London 2012 Olympics. Hoy initially began in Radical sports cars before moving up to the British GT Championship in 2014 where he scored a podium, but glory came a year later when he moved up to LMP3 competition.

Hoy was crowned champion of the European Le Mans Series alongside Charlie Robertson in 2015, and has since moved up to LMP2, 24 hour racing, historics and the Porsche Supercup.

Jason Kenny

Another cycling hero of London 2012, another motorsport convert. Kenny started his exploits on track with Ginetta racing in 2012, and placed 16th overall in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in 2013.

Like Hoy, he also turned his hand to Radicals, and claimed a podium in the Radical European Masters in 2014, finishing third at the Nurburgring.

Theo Paphitis

Entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den regular Theo Paphitis has taken up an interest in historic motorsport, having raced in Historic Sports Car Club contests in the second half of the last decade.

Paphitis’ exploits have taken him to the Goodwood Revival and also linked him up with former F1 racer Mark Blundell, with Paphitis holding the Chairman position at Blundell’s MB Partners concern.

Brian Johnson

AC/DC singer Johnson is a regular feature in the historic motorsport scene, having raced classics across the world in recent years.

The Geordie has competed in GrandAm in the USA, the Le Mans Classic in France and the Masters Historic Series in the UK. His motorsport exploits very nearly brought his music career to an end though, after suffering hearing damage during a race and having to miss out on several AC/DC tours. Thankfully, he’s back on stage and the race track, having rejoined the legendary Anglo-Aussie band in the past 18 months and still finding time to race where his schedule allows.

Kelvin Fletcher

The former soap actor is more recently known for his triumph in Strictly Come Dancing, but the Emmerdale man has been a regular feature in the UK motorsport scene for almost a decade.

Another to start off in Ginetta competition, he quickly moved up to the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and was third overall in 2013. A high profile move to the British Touring Car Championship in 2016 didn’t yield much in the way of positive results at the wheel of an ageing Chevrolet Cruze, but he’s since figured very strongly in the British GT Championship, winning the GT4 pro-am title in 2019.

And there’s more...

Mr Bean, aka Rowan Atkinson has been racing for ages, Chris Rea may enjoy Driving Home for Christmas, but he also makes occasional appearances on a race track. Take That’s Howard Donald has enjoyed some of his ‘Greatest Days’ behind the wheel of a racing car, while Travis drummer Neil Primrose hopes it doesn’t rain on him while he’s on track.

Faithless frontman Maxi Jazz was a British GT contender in the mid-2000s, Boyzone’s Shane Lynch likewise, while Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason seems to race more than he rocks!

Celebrities and fast cars. Who ever would have thought it?!

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Written by Richard Randle

Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.