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Mika Hakkinen

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Formula one champion Mika Hakkinen is set to make a guest appearance at the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in Zhuhai.

Known as the Flying Finn, Hakkinen will be racing a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 in the six hour race taking place on the 13th November 2011.

Respected by the likes of Michael Schumacher, Hakkinen last raced in 2007 making his upcoming appearance even more appealing.

Lance David Arnold and Cong Fu Cheng will also be helping Hakkinen with the race.

Hakkinen has spoken of his excitement of taking part in the race he said: “It's a great honour for me to be able to contest the first SLS AMG GT3 race in China.

“Although I've visited China many times, I've never raced there, which is why I'm really looking forward to Zhuhai.

"It will be a tough race in a competitive field, but I'll do my best for Customer Sports Team AMG.

“Of course, 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."

The two times F1 champion is making his appearance as the Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador; it will also be the first time the SLS has been raced in China.

Hakkinen began his career with Formula one when he joined Team Lotus in 1991, he qualified 13th in his Grand Prix debut in Phoenix.

1994 saw Hakkinen become a leading driver for McLaren during this time McLaren changed their engines from Ford to Peugeot.

He continued his success over the years beginning a long relationship with Mercedes-Benz and McLaren.

During the 1995 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide Hakkinen crashed into a wall leaving him critically injured, he was saved only by a tracheotomy which was performed at the side of the track.

Hakkinen announced his retired from racing in 2007, there have been ongoing talks for years surrounding his comeback which has now been confirmed.

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president, Norbert Haug, said: “Mika Hakkinen is one of the most successful, best-known and best-liked racing drivers in the world.

“Mika is a prominent member of the Mercedes family and enjoys enormous popularity, especially in China. That’s also why he was so willing to play an active role in the race debut of the SLS AMG GT3 at Zhuhai.”

For racing fans all around the world the news of his comeback will bring a feeling of excitement for the upcoming race in a few weeks.

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By Amanda Bainbridge