Belfast Telegraph

Wire star Idris Elba keen to take his chance in the Circuit of Ireland Rally

By Sammy Hamill

Award-winning actor Idris Elba, star of Luther and The Wire, is being lined up to appear on a different stage next year - the Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Elba, who also played Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom, is turning his hand to documentary, making a series for the Discovery Channel which will see him compete in powerboat racing, aerobatic flying, street racing and rallying.

A car enthusiast who competed on the Gumball Rally in 2010, Elba will be filmed going behind the scenes at the Monte Carlo Rally and is hoping he can compete on the Circuit of Ireland at Easter.

Filming will take place in Florida, California, the UK and the Republic and it can be no coincidence that his guide and mentor for the rallying section of the series is former British champion Jimmy McRae, the record seven-times Circuit of Ireland winner.

The actor has also said: "I'll meet extraordinary individuals, spectacular machines and hear amazing stories of how far people go to satisfy their love of speed.

"The extreme challenges will take me right out of my comfort zone as I compete against the best on land, water and in the air."

Bobby Willis, rally director of the Circuit, said: "The programme makers have been in touch with us to discuss the possibility of Idris taking part. We are co-operating with them in every way we can, including providing introductions to a number of the teams who are expected to be on the rally next year.

"We would be delighted to see him on the rally and although there are a number of hurdles to overcome, not least his own packed schedule, I'm hopeful it can happen."

Meanwhile, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minster Arlene Foster joined event director Willis at Stormont to mark the four-month countdown to Easter (April 2/4) and the return of the European championship to Belfast where the Titanic Quarter will again play host to the rally's service park and media centre.

"The ERC's high profile ensures that Northern Ireland will be showcased as a tourist destination, not only to those rally fans travelling to witness our stunning scenery first-hand, but also to the many millions watching on television across Europe and the world," said Minister Foster.

Willis added: " The organising committee was delighted with its huge success attracting almost 74,000 spectators."

Among the first to confirm entries for the 2015 event were Monaghan brothers Sam and Josh Moffett.

Elder brother Sam was a stage winner at Easter in his Ford Fiesta RRC and now Josh says he is also planning to switch from his production-winning Mitsubishi to a Fiesta next year.

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