The hard-core Formula 1 fans who get these emails will find this pretty cool... Ben Edwards, the longtime F1, BTTC and F3 television commentator and currently BBC’s voice of F1, visited Lime Rock Park Monday, June 3, a guest of the Lime Rock Drivers Club.
Edwards and his wife Belinda (above) were on their way to Montreal for the Canadian GP, and so decided to spend a couple days in Connecticut with their friends Greg and Wendy of Bethel, both of whom are regular fans of Lime Rock; they suggested Ben and Belinda go visit “America’s Brands Hatch.”
LRDC director Simon Kirkby met the foursome at the track and of course, within minutes Simon was sliding them into the passenger seats of a BMW M3, planning to “introduce” everyone to the wonderful nuances and secrets of Lime Rock. At high rates of speed. And so it was...
“Yes, of course, I know of Lime Rock and was anxious to go round,” Ben said. “I love these kinds of tracks... very fast, tricky corners, elevation changes, surrounded by hills. Brilliant. And yes, a feel quite similar to Brands Hatch...”
Ben started in motorsport as a weekend mechanic, became a racing driver and instructor. He won two (British) National motor racing titles and then swapped steering wheel for microphone to establish himself as one of the foremost commentators in the world.
Ben’s racing exploits included Formula Ford, Formula First and the Vauxhall Lotus series, where he raced against Mika Hakkinen, Allan McNish, Gil De Ferran and David Coulthard.
Ben was a senior instructor at the Brands Hatch Racing School, working with the legendary Tony Lanfranchi, and remembers teaching Jackie Stewart’s son Paul some of the basics of circuit driving.
His commentating debut also came at the Kent circuit, where encouraged by Brands stalwart Brian Jones, he quickly became absorbed in the process of communicating his favorite sport.
Ben made his TV commentating debut alongside Tiff Needell in 1987, became a regular on Eurosport TV in 1993 and covered Formula 1 with Eurosport in 1995-96.
Four years spent covering the U.S. Champ Car racing scene were followed by another year of F1 in 2002 for Sky, when he also became ITV’s voice of the British Touring Car Championship. World Championship Speedway, Powerboats, A1GP and World Rally have all come under his umbrella since then, and he has voiced the official Duke Video F1 highlights DVD for several years. Ben became the BBC F1 commentator starting with the 2012 season.
Ben is known for his enthusiastic, energetic, shouting commentary style, similar to that of James Allen.
Former racer Ben about to get hot-lapped by Simon...
Wendy and Greg of Bethel, Conn., good friends with the Edwards'
"Fast and flowing -- the kind of track I like." Ben Edwards
Photos by Rick Roso