Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart came together yesterday to swap race cars at the legendary Watkins Glen International circuit, near New York. The event which was announced earlier in April, was organised by ExxonMobil Lubricants as a promotional tool for the company’s Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil brand.
In front of a crowd of enthusiastic race fans and motorsports journalists from around the globe, Hamilton took laps in Stewart’s No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala, while Stewart climbed into the cockpit of the team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23. The drivers each enjoyed a few laps around the long course at The Glen, experiencing the 3.4-mile, 11-turn lap circuit.
Lewis climbs into the NASCAR as Tony Stewart looks on
Hamilton and Stewart, both champions in their respective disciplines, eagerly anticipated the chance to give up their seat to a fellow champion. “I’d always wondered what it would be like to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car, because it’s such a completely different experience from driving a Formula 1 car” said Hamilton.
Tony Stewart prepares for his run in the MP4-23
“Thanks to Mobil 1, I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity today – not only did I get the chance to drive the car of Tony Stewart, a double NASCAR champion, but I also got to share that experience by giving him the chance to drive my Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car too.
NASCAR is a different world. Driving the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet was a massive change from what I’m used to, but Tony was an excellent teacher and I quickly found a good rhythm – those cars are raw and powerful! They’re fantastic fun to drive.
It was a great day at Watkins Glen – this is a circuit with a great deal of Formula 1 history behind it: Emerson Fittipaldi won McLaren their first drivers’ and constructors’ titles here back in 1974 and it’s been fantastic to come here and take in some of that history.”
Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart said, “I’ve always been intrigued by the open wheel cars in Formula 1 racing. Feeling the power behind the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 was amazing and being able to take it for a ride around the course in front of a crowd of avid race fans at a track like The Glen made it even more special. An experience that I’ll never forget.”
We are expecting a further video from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but in the meantime enjoy the videos on this page showing the build up and TV report from yesterday’s event.
Y! Sports Blogs: Tony Stewart & Lewis Hamilton – Car Swap At Watkins Glen 2011
SpeedTV: Tony Stewart Drives Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Car – Seat Swap Special 2011
SpeedTV: Lewis Hamilton Drives Tony Stewart’s NASCAR In Seat Swap