Northern Ireland

Idris Elba to take part in Circuit of Ireland Rally

Idris Elba in rally car Image copyright Getty Images

Film and television star Idris Elba's latest role is a dramatic change of pace, as he prepares to take part in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Elba has been test-driving along rural roads in counties Tyrone and Monaghan as practice for the race, which begins in Northern Ireland in less than six weeks' time.

The 42-year-old actor first came to prominence for his role in acclaimed television drama The Wire as Stringer Bell, and went on to star in the BBC's Luther and in the Hollywood film Mandela: Long Road to Freedom.

He is also known for his love of cars, hosting the television documentary series Idris Elba: King of Speed.

His role in the Circuit of Ireland is being filmed for a new Discovery Channel series where he takes on different land, air and water racing challenges.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elba has been receiving guidance from racing legend Jimmy McRae
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption From The Wire to the byre: This farmyard in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone is a long way from the streets of Baltimore

As part of his preparations for the rally, he has been working with seven-time Circuit of Ireland winner and rally legend Jimmy McRae.

He will learn the mechanics of British Junior Rally Champion Gus Greensmith's Ford Fiesta R1, testing the car on closed roads.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elba tested along a closed three-mile road near Aughnacloy
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The actor got a taste of what he could expect in the rally
Image copyright PAthe
Image caption Elba starred in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Image caption He also starred in BBC crime drama Luther

Rally director Bobby Willis said Elba would be "truly pushed to his limits as he learns the finely-honed skills, precision and dedication needed to take part".

The race begins with a ceremonial start at Belfast City Hall on 2 April, passing through stages in counties Antrim and Down, before finishing up at the Titanic Quarter in the city two days later.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites