Ton-up racing driver to appeal

PUBLISHED: 14:11 29 March 2007 | UPDATED: 13:54 04 May 2010

PROFESSIONAL racing driver Phil Bennett was banned from driving for 56 days by Ely magistrates on Thursday, after they heard how he was caught speeding at 111 mph along the A11. But Bennett - who appeared on the TV show Faking It, helping a man to pretend

PROFESSIONAL racing driver Phil Bennett was banned from driving for 56 days by Ely magistrates on Thursday, after they heard how he was caught speeding at 111 mph along the A11.

But Bennett - who appeared on the TV show Faking It, helping a man to pretend to be a racing driver - has already announced that he plans to appeal against the sentence, and the court agreed to suspend the ban.

Thirty-five-year-old Bennett, who gave an address in Acorn Way, Silverstone, was also fined £1,000 with £35 costs.

Prosecutor Francesca Devine told the court how Bennett was driving a Mini Cooper southbound along the A11 at Chippenham on May 13 last year when he was clocked at a speed of 111.61 mph.

Bennett, who in 2001 was the most winning rookie driving in the history of British Touring Car Championships, and came fourth in the Le Mans Endurance Series in 2005, asked the magistrates not to ban him from the road, because it would cost him £800 a fortnight to pay for a chauffeur to take him to races.

His solicitor told the court that Bennett had broken the speed limit that day because he had been driving fast at work earlier at day.

"A car driven at 111 mph in his hands is a good deal more safe that in my hands," he explained.

Presiding magistrate Bryant Watson told Bennett: "You are a professional driver of high quality, and to drive at 41 mph above the limit was extreme to say the least. It was grossly out of order."

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