Video: Mansell reunited with this 3.5-litre V12 Ferrari 639

07th July 2023
Simon Ostler

Nigel Mansell’s time at Ferrari was an odd period in his career. In two seasons he never achieved anything the like the success he would have hoped for while racing for the Prancing Horse, but all the same, he was embraced by the Tifosi for his lionheart bravery and determination.

He won his first race for the team at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix, but from there woeful reliability ensured there would be no chance of a title challenge. Two further victories at Hungary later in the year, and then Portugal in 1990 were to be his two other highlights, but it was not enough to stop him from returning to Williams and winning the world championship.

It did just so happen that the Mansell era at Ferrari coincided with one of the most beautiful Formula 1 cars ever built. The 640 was, in the eyes of many, F1 perfection, with its simplistic aerodynamics and slender shape. But before that car ever hit the track, Mansell and his team-mate Alain Prost spent a great deal of time testing in the Ferrari 639 mule car that itself never saw live action.

That’s the one we see here absolutely flying up the Hill at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. Powered by Ferrari’s 3.5-litre V12, it’s absolutely ear-shattering. Nigel Mansell getting back behind the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car was a moment we never thought we’d see, the kind of experience you’ll only have at Goodwood.

  • Video

  • Festival of Speed

  • FOS

  • FOS 2022

  • Nigel Mansell

  • Ferrari

  • 639


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