A Faygate racing driver hoping to break into America’s NASCAR met with Horsham MP Francis Maude to discuss his ambitious project.
John Mickel, who runs Mickel Motorsports near Horsham, has won a number of national and international racing titles in the UK, Europe, and the United States, but is bidding to become the first UK team to field a driver full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Series in 2015.
However he is still seeking financial backing to help fund the project and has secured a place on a trade mission to the United States later this year after a meeting with Mr Maude last Friday.
John said: “It’s a lifetime ambition to have one full season. We have spoken so much about it.
“We think we are good enough and we proved it in South Africa and we would want that one full season.”
He has competed in several NASCAR events but never for a full year, yet he triumphed in a special NASCAR event held in South Africa in 2010.
He added: “We just need time on board and more laps and we need a full season.
“That’s why we had the meeting, we need support to get out there and he [Francis Maude] is happy with us and what we have done and he is willing to be behind us.
“It’s just putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together.
“We have been in the US before and we just want that lucky break and hopefully this is the year.”
John started racing at the age of ten on short track ovals before moving up to stock cars. As a professional race driver he has won a number of world and UK titles, but for the past few years has had his eyes firmly on breaking into NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing describing it as a ‘tough nut to crack’.
The sport has a huge following in the United States, second only to the National Football League (NFL) in terms of television audience.
Having worked for Sky Sports on its motor sports coverage, he felt many people would be surprised about the level of interest that NASCAR generates in the UK, and thought this would only increase with a full-time British driver to root for.
After years of trying, the six-strong team hope to line up on the NASCAR grid in February 2015.
John said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. The events are so big. They get between 50,000 and 200,000 people and it’s just a buzzing atmosphere.
“It’s just such a competitive arena.”