Racing champion Nigel Mansell in Welwyn Garden City

Associate organisers of Home Counties North group of IAM Roadsmart Jean and Harry Sowden with 1992 F

Associate organisers of Home Counties North group of IAM Roadsmart Jean and Harry Sowden with 1992 F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell CBE. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Champion racing driver Nigel Mansell visited Welwyn Garden City yesterday to help a national charity push its road safety message to young people.

The 63-year-old, who won 31 Formula One races and took the World Championship in 1992, was one of five judges choosing a “younger

driver ambassador” for IAM Roadsmart, which is based in Albany Place, Broadwater Road.

Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart spokesman, said: “We thank Nigel Mansell very much for giving up his time for us, and for meeting some of our valuable volunteers.

“They loved hearing stories about his Formula One career, and about his work as IAM RoadSmart president too.”

The ambassador, a paid position on a one-year contract, will pay a series of visits to the charity’s 200 groups across Britain and conduct several radio and television interviews to push its safe-driving message.

Rodney added: “We want to target the younger driver. We need someone close to them in age so they are more aware of the social pressures young people experience, for instance social media.”

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Statistics show teenagers and people in their early 20s are much more likely to be involved in serious accidents, both as victims and as drivers.

After three candidates were interviewed on Tuesday, the position was offered to one young man, but he has not yet formally accepted.

Rodney added: “It will be a high-profile position, and it could well lead on to other things.”

Nigel Mansell’s Formula One career lasted from 1980 to 1995, with spells for the MacLaren, Williams, Ferrari, and Lotus teams, and a break racing in the USA.

He is one of only four people to be voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year twice, triumphing in 1986 and 1992.

In the latter year, he won the first five races, and set a lasting record for the highest proportion of pole positions earned in qualifying - 88 per cent.

In 2012, Nigel Mansell was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to children and young people.

The Welwyn Garden City-based charity promotes road safety by offering free advanced skills taster sessions at over 100 locations nationwide.