Mission: Impossible role for Melton racing driver Craig Dolby

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The latest in the hit Mission: Impossible franchise hits UK cinema screens today - and Melton racing driver Craig Dolby is in it!

The 27-year-old was chosen to join a five-strong team of stunt drivers to work on this summer’s big blockbuster, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Craig spent more than a month on location in Morocco late last year working on the film alongside Hollywood royalty including Tom Cruise.

The once-in-a-lifetime invitation was a bolt from the blue after a routine day at the track.

There he met Wade Eastwood, stunt co-ordinator for the $150 million summer blockbuster.

Craig said: “It was a special moment and came completely out of the blue.

“He was there testing in a race car and I was there coaching for the Formula Renault team.

“We got on well and went to do some fun go karting stuff and he then said ‘do you want to come and work on Mission Impossible’?

“To get a job and work on the same film as those kind of guys was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Craig was asked to double as British acting star Simon Pegg behind the wheel.

His tasks ranged from dangerous stunts, which he wasn’t allowed to disclose, to more mundane driving roles.

“For the first couple of days you’re a bit starstruck, but after that you work very hard like everyone else,” he added.

“You’re up at five in the morning and don’t get back to the hotel until nine at night, and you do that every single day.

“It was literally anything in a car. Some days it would be more exciting things and others you could just be driving background cars for a motorway scene.

“I did a double for Simon Pegg which was quite interesting!”

Craig is a factory driver for Daventry-based JRM Racing and this season began racing in the global Blancpain GT Series - one of motorsport’s biggest GT championships.

He had to decline the invitation to last weekend’s pre-screening to race at Belgian F1 circuit Spa, but believes filming brings similar pressures to handling an expensive sports car.

“You have to be 100 per cent switched on - you don’t want to make a mistake or you would ruin the shot and be in trouble,” he said.

“There is a massive pressure on you not to get it wrong.

“You gain a lot of respect for everyone in the film industry. For me I was out there for 38 days for just four minutes of film.”

The former karting prodigy began his love affair with speed at just four-years-old, and it’s been a long, arduous road to reach the glamour of Hollywood and a salaried drive.

Just a few years ago Craig almost quit the sport as he struggled to get a seat despite being considered one of the best young drivers in the country.

The principal of a leading Formula 1 team told him he was good enough to race with them, but he could never hope to raise the multi-million pound budget required to compete in top single-seater championships.

His parents sold their home to give him a shot at the big time, and Craig also spent his spare time labouring on a building site.

He said: “I have gone from struggling to get a race drive and not looking like I had a career driving to now racing in one of the biggest GT championships and working on one of the biggest films in the world - I’m a very lucky boy.

“I’m a normal person from Melton Mowbray and have just worked very hard. If you push hard enough for your dreams it shows where you can get.

“My friends and family have given me so much support and sacrificed a lot for me so I owe everyone a massive thank-you.”