Returning Hakkinen is in it for the fun at Zhuhai
Former two-time Formula One champion Mika Hakkinen of Finland will put on his racing helmet again when he competes in next month's Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, a six-hour endurance race in Zhuhai.
Hakkinen, who was the Formula One champion in 1998 and 1999, will be driving a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3. In a one-off guest appearance, he will be making his debut at the Zhuhai International Circuit from November 11 to 13.
It will be his first appearance in the region since his clash with seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher at the 1990 Macau Grand Prix. Hakkinen had smashed into a wall while leading with one lap to go, allowing the German ace to take the chequered flag.
Hakkinen officially retired in 2007 and now races for fun, but he was excited about his trip to Zhuhai and his first-ever drive on the mainland.
The Zhuhai race is the season finale of the seven-race championship, which stopped at Silverstone in England, Sebring and Petit Le Mans in the US, Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, Le Mans in France and the Imola circuit in Italy. The championship is divided into four racing categories and was first held last year.
The 43-year-old Finn said: 'Although I've visited China many times, I've never raced there, which is why I'm looking forward to Zhuhai. Being a guest driver in such a line-up should be a lot of fun, especially in the SLS AMG GT3. It's a great customer motorsport vehicle, which is both fast and extremely good looking.'
Hakkinen drove for McLaren-Mercedes in the two years he won the Formula One title. He had previously driven for Team Lotus before joining McLaren as a test driver in 1993. He got on the race team when Michael Andretti left Formula One.
Hakkinen drove in Formula One from 1991 to 2001.
In 2005, he reappeared to compete in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) for Mercedes for three seasons, finishing no better than fifth overall.
The number of 'Flying Finn' Mika Hakkinen's Grand Prix wins during his illustrious Formula One career, which ended in 2001