Idris Elba signs up for Circuit of Ireland rally 2015

World famous actor Idris Elba has been trying out a new role as a rally driver on the roads of Monaghan this week before taking part in Easter weekend's Circuit of Ireland Rally.
World famous actor Idris Elba has been trying out a new role as a rally driver on the roads of Monaghan this week before taking part in Easter weekend's Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Actor Idris Elba swapped the film set for the roads as he did some test driving ahead of his participation in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Motoring buff Elba, who played Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela – Long Walk To Freedom, was behind the wheel in rural Co Monaghan.

The 42-year-old actor, who won a Golden Globe for his role in the BBC crime thriller series Luther, is taking part in the rally event on Easter weekend as part of a new documentary series.

In the four-part series for Discovery TV, Elba is pledging to test his limit racing on land, water and in the air.

This week he was learning new driving skills from experienced World Rally Championship co-driver Michael Orr from Bangor, County Down.

Rally director Bobby Willis said it was a “major coup” that the actor was taking part in the historic event.

“We are so thrilled to host such a well-known celebrity at the rally as he takes on a new challenge,” he said.

“He will be truly pushed to his limits as he learns the finely-honed skills, precision and dedication needed to take part in the adrenalin-fuelled Circuit of Ireland this Easter.”

The three-day 2015 Circuit of Ireland Rally will get under way on Thursday April 2, when many of Europe’s top drivers rev up in the heart of Belfast, with a ceremonial start taking place at the City Hall.

The circuit, which will run across stages in counties Antrim and Down, will be part of the FIA European Rally Championship.