Three-time World Snooker Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan is to swap the green baize for black tarmac at the BRSCC run Silverstone meeting this weekend and make his motorsport debut at the wheel of a 130mph racing saloon in the Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook.

'Rocket Ronnie' will drive car number 147, a turbocharged 2-litre Volkswagen Jetta, in two 20-minute rounds of what is one of the UK's most competitive amateur championships. Though he has appeared on TV's Fifth Gear, and was Top Gear's 'Star in a reasonably priced car', O'Sullivan has never raced before. "They were good things to do but this is my first real intense kind of motorsport experience," says the Essex 33-year-old, who adds that the Silverstone races are just the beginning of his track career. "I want to continue racing; it's something that I'm well into. I'm doing Silverstone and hopefully also the Brands Hatch races in September, and I definitely want to do more racing next year."

He's taking up the sport because it's a complete break from the 'day job': "Doing a ball sport as a hobby just reminds me of what I do for a living. This is completely different; I love cars and I love driving." Ronnie started his race training at Silverstone last week ahead of his track proficiency test and Saturday's qualifying sessions. He will take part in the first of the weekend's Volkswagen Racing Cup events on Saturday afternoon and will race again on Sunday

He got his break into motorsport thanks to RacingLine, the innovative Milton Keynes-based company which runs the Volkswagen Racing Cup and which can lead a novice through every step of the process required to get them on to the grid, including licensing, training, passing the track test. RacingLine can also supply a fully race-prepared car

Ronnie's track exploits have been made possible thanks to his sponsor Addison Lee, London's leading minicab company, whose directors Liam and Kieran Griffin made their track debuts in the Volkswagen Racing Cup in 2008. O'Sullivan's Jetta has been liveried in Addison Lee's colours to match Liam's Scirocco and Kieran's Golf GTI

"Ronnie has been a great pupil so far," says RacingLine director Melissa Wright. "He has taken on board everything the instructors have told him and I think that his cool calculation, an attribute which has made him a sporting superstar, will prove very useful on the track as well. Once he has some miles under his belt his naturally competitive nature will propel him up the grid."

O'Sullivan isn't expecting to 'pot black' on his debut: "I'll be happy just not to come last," he says. "I just want to get around, get some experience and have some fun."

More information about the Hankook backed VW Cup can be found at Click Here


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