Motor Racing: Lola put safety first for Mansell

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NIGEL MANSELL will start his IndyCar career early next month in one of the safest racing cars ever built.

The Formula One world champion will be protected by the latest safety features incorporated into his Lola chassis, which was unveiled yesterday at the manufacturer's factory in Huntingdon.

The car Mansell will drive is the first to be built by Lola under the new stricter safety regulations introduced to IndyCar racing after this year's Indianapolis 500 where one driver was killed and the Brazilian, Nelson Piquet, was severely injured. The three-time Formula One world champion shattered his legs in a high-speed accident during practice for the event.

Bruce Ashmore, Lola's chief IndyCar designer, said the 39- year-old Mansell would be just as safe, if not safer, in 1993 than he had been this year on his way to the title in the standard-setting Williams-Renault FW14.

'Any suggestion that Indy cars are death traps is wrong. We build both Formula One cars and Indy cars and they are each on the same technology level.' Ashmore said.

'Nigel is going to be just as safe in an Indy Car as he was in an F1 car,' he added.

Mansell starts testing his Newman-Haas Lola T93, powered by a Ford Cosworth engine, in Arizona on 4 January. Lola chassis have been title winners in the IndyCar series for the last three years.