Date: 1 October 1992
Originally published in: Salut! (France)
Written by: Veronique Dokan
The relationship between Kim Wilde and Japan? None except that all Japanese people love the records of the adorable blonde. The relationship between Kim Wilde and Formula 1? None except that she is English like Nigel Mansell the world champion. It was enough to pack up and attend the Suzuka grand prix as the privileged few…
When she arrived at the stand of the Williams-Renault team, Kim Wilde did not yet know very well what awaited her. Racing cars weren’t really his thing until then. And it was through Candide’s eyes that she discovered this very special universe. It smells of oil, fuel and the concentration is extreme. There’s no question of thinking about anything other than racing when you’re an F1 mechanic.
We try to be discreet in the middle of all these men who are agitated. The beast (I mean the car) is there, in front of us, superb, with its blue and yellow colors. And the champion, Nigel Mansell, is not far either.
Besides, when he sees Kim, he takes off his helmet, his fireproof balaclava and rushes to kiss her. “We don’t know each other at all but my father plays golf with Nigel and then we’re both British. It creates bonds!” said Kim delighted to meet the one everyone here considers a star.
Kim, helped by Nigel, will have the privilege of slipping into the racing car. And oh! supreme honor, it can even make the engine roar by fully pressing the accelerator. “It seems that I am the first person outside the Williams-Renault team to have this right”, she says, amazed like a little girl. “What an exhilarating feeling!” Still in shock, Kim gradually regains her senses by talking with the champion. For once it’s her who asks the questions like a journalist and she comes back from this interview with lots of nice info. “He told me about his wife and their three children, about his superstition which consists in always entering his car from the left and getting out of it from the right. He also confided to me that he sometimes be scared sometimes. I understand that.” Kim is under the spell, Nigel, him, is envious on the stand because everyone seems to appreciate the interpreter of “Million Miles Away”. But the race will soon begin. Installed in a grandstand, we wait for the start with beating hearts. 300 per hour in the straight lines is not nothing. Kim barely has time to wave the flag she bought on purpose when her new boyfriend has already streaked past us at lightning speed. Mansell’s nickname? “Lion”. “Like my cat,” said the beauty, laughing. Alas it was not a tiger but fire that broke its engine four laps before the end. Kim is the first to console him. He is disappointed of course but he remains world champion all the same. Phew! Tomorrow Nigel leaves for the USA where he now lives. Kim, she returns home near London but both will meet on the set of Star 90, next January 11th. Their friendship story will not stop there…