Formula One star Jenson Button has thrown his weight behind the campaign to bring back the Birmingham Superprix.
During a visit to the city, Button spoke about the possible return of the race, which ran from 1986 to 1990.
He also welcomed the return of Michael Schumaker to the Formula 1 track to replace injured Felipe Massa.
Backing the Superprix, he said: “We do a little bit of street racing around the world. Monaco has been going for more than 50 years and which is spectacular, we also do racing in Valencia which is a bit like street racing, and Singapore at night time which is tremendous.
“But it would be good to race in a major city in England in either Birmingham or London.
“We had a show in Regent Street earlier this year and we had a quarter of a million people there just to see us driving up and down and doing donuts in the cars, so there’s obviously the appetite for street racing. It would be spectacular.”
His comments follow those of Formula One boss Eddie Jordan, who last month called for the Birmingham Super Prix to be relaunched to boost the region’s economy. The Super Prix attracted crowds of up to 60,000 to watch Formula 3000 cars speeding around the city at 120mph. It was scrapped after public losses amounted to nearly £5 million.
Button, aged 27, also spoke about the injuries suffered by Felipe Massa at the weekend and said he was pleased to see the Brazilian’s team mate, Michael Schumaker, return to the track.
“Obviously for Massa it was a horrific weekend in Hungary,” he said. “A real freak accident. We all thought the worst.
“But he’s had an operation on his skull and everything went well. He’s able to see out of both eyes and he’s talking and speaking very well. He’s on the road to recovery, which is fantastic but he won’t be going to Valencia. The person who is filling in for him is Michael Schumaker, which is a big deal for racing fans and for Michael fans.
He added: “It’s nice to have him racing again. I wish it could be under different circumstances. I think he’ll jump into the car and it will be quick.”
“He’s got four weeks to work on his neck muscles but his reactions are still sharp, he was driving the Ferrrari at about Christmas time and he was still quick.”
Button said that despite his own recent lull on the track he was looking forward to improving his performance at the Telefonica Grand Prix Of Europe in Valencia on August 23.
“The season has been alright. The start of the season was fantastic, the last three races have been a bit more challenging.
“We’re trying to get the tyres working. We’ve not able to get enough heat into the tyres so we’re struggling. We’ve got to work out why we’ve got that problem.
“I still have an 18 point lead and I don’t want it getting any smaller so when we get to Valencia we need to be up the front and challenging for the wins.”