It’s become something of a tradition at the season opener in Melbourne, for a crowd-pleasing shootout between a fast car, fast racing car and the fastest racing car in the world.
This year, David Coulthard took the wheel of the Red Bull Racing RB7, while two ex-Moto GP champions played the role as its bait – Mick Doohan in a Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG and Casey Stoner in his Aussie V8 Supercar.
The race was staggered using a handicap system based on each car/driver’s lap times (from the previous day), so despite its appearance, the drivers had to drive their stints flat-out in order to cross the line in their predicted order.
The shootout followed a week of spectacle for the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team, in which Mark Webber broke the lap record at the Sydney Motorsport Park.
During a Top Gear Live event, Webber set out to beat Nico Hülkenberg’s A1GP lap record at the Eastern Creek circuit, driving his RB7 show car fitted with rock-hard demo rubber (so that F1 teams can’t use these demo events for testing).
Despite the compromised tyres, Webber still managed to smash Hülkenberg’s record with a time of 1:15.218 on Saturday and then, having got his eye in, dropped that to 1.13.606 on Sunday.
“I knew there was a bit more time from yesterday,” said Mark, “and we probably got what ever expected out of it today. There was a great crowd in and you owe it to them to put the car on the limit.”
In addition to that, Webber also went head-to-head with Craig Lowndes in a V8 Supercar and Casey Stoner in a Honda CBR1000RR superbike. If you’ve ever wondered how much faster an F1 car is than anything else on wheels, Webber finished the five-lap race conclusively lapping his rivals, with Stoner and Lowndes separated by just a few tenths of a second.