Did someone call a taxi for Lewis Hamilton?
The McLaren driver is to take time out from challenging for the Formula One championship to get behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala from America’s NASCAR Sprint Cup.
And, in return for handing over his usual ride, Stewart-Haas driver and two-time series champion Tony Stewart gets to do something that most people can only dream of – driving McLaren’s MP4-23.
The two drivers’ outings in each other’s cars are set to feature as an exhibition run at the Watkins Glen event due to be held on June 14 in upstate New York.
One of America’s top road courses (or what we know as a racetrack over here), The Glen has a reputation that rivals some of Europe’s top racing venues, and features 11 turns along its 3.4-mile length.
The event, known as the Mobil 1 Car swap, has been organised to promote the oil supplier for both McLaren and Stewart-Haas.
Hamilton said that, despite all the time he spends in race cars, this would be his first chance to drive a NASCAR stock car: “Tony and I will have some fun with the swap and make sure we put on a good show. American race fans are massively enthusiastic about motorsports, so I hope to see a lot of them down at The Glen to see it first-hand.
“It’s a racer’s circuit and will give us both the chance to understand the differences between the two styles of racing at this legendary track.
“Watkins Glen also has a particular connection to the team, as it is where McLaren won our first Drivers’ and Constructors’ world championship in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi; I’m looking forward to getting back there with the latest generation of McLaren’s machines!”
Stewart added: “When you’ve been around competitive racing for as long as I have, you really look forward to new experiences, and this car swap with Lewis is definitely one of those opportunities.
“I already have quite a bit of respect for what Lewis and the F1 drivers and teams do, so to experience laps in the cockpit of a F1 car and see what Lewis can do in the Cup car, is something I am really excited about.”