Lewis Hamilton drives NASCAR at Watkins Glen

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Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart tried driving each others’ cars at former F1 venue of Watkins Glen in New York on Tuesday.

Hamilton got behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala NASCAR weighing 1,542kg – around two-and-a-half times as much as his McLaren F1 car.

The 5.86-litre V8 – over twice the capacity of his usual 2.4-litre Mercedes V8 – supplied around 850bhp according to Mobil 1, sponsors of Stewart’s NASCAR team and McLaren.

The Mercedes has slightly less, around 760bhp. The KERS unit used on today’s F1 cars would add 82bhp to that when used, but Stewart was driving Hamilton’s 2008 title-winning MP4-23, which did not feature KERS.

“Tony was an excellent teacher and I quickly found a good rhythm”, said Hamilton. “Those cars are raw and powerful! They?re fantastic fun to drive.”

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.

Lewis Hamilton swaps seats with Tony Stewart – pictures

Earlier this year Hamilton’s team mate Jenson Button became the first driver to lap the Mount Panorama circuit, home of the Bathurst 1000, in an F1 car. He also drove an Australian V8 Supercar:

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84 comments on Lewis Hamilton drives NASCAR at Watkins Glen

  1. Icemangrins said on 15th June 2011, 1:08

    Tony Stewart could fit into an F1 car ;)

    Anyways, Lewis is made for f1 cars. NASCAR doesn’t suit him.

  2. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 15th June 2011, 1:34

    I always find it amazing to see the 2008 F1 cars and how heavily modified they were.. I miss the speed those cars had but i think i prefer the more clean cut image the cars have today. I think.. :\

    • Victor. said on 15th June 2011, 1:50

      If you compare qualifying times from 2008 and 2011 you’ll find that this year’s cars are much faster on most circuits. Of course that’s primarily down to the slicks, which is reflected in the fact that at high downforce tracks such as Barcelona 2008 cars were just as fast if not faster, but engineers have come a long way since 2009.

    • watty (@watty) said on 15th June 2011, 1:50

      that was my first thought also – boy were they ugly

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 15th June 2011, 2:00

      2010 and 2011 cars both produce more downforce at less drag.

      FIA tinkering getting annoying though.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 15th June 2011, 9:30

        It always has been annoying I think.

        But then again, it’s the lesser of two evils, imagine where we would be without it.

        • nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 15th June 2011, 11:22

          exactly.. todays cars have 3 years more development on them than the 2008 cars do. crazy to think where they would be now..

          FIA butting in is starting to annoy me now though.. i think they should only be aloud to change the rules so dramatically everyother year or so. trying to slow the cars is wrong. this is F1 not F3..

  3. Sam said on 15th June 2011, 1:52

    Haha I loved watching this on SPEED. Lewis and Tony seemed to really enjoy themselves. I wont be surprised if Lewis considers NASCAR later on lol.

    • Oppenheimer (@gee-moagi) said on 15th June 2011, 5:23

      I also watched it also but I must say Lewis seemed a bit stressed. he didn’t even attempt to push that NASCAR beyond the limits, he just drove it smoothely. I think this current phase where everyone is critizing him is starting to affect him negatively. All these negativity is surely going to affect the way drives from on now, he might not attempt to ovetake in the races bcz of fear of bumping on someone.. I know people are disappointed with his past two races but last time I checked bringing someone down never helped anyone..

      • Sam said on 15th June 2011, 6:22

        You know what, given how fast the McLaren has looked in races…I say taming his aggression for a few races will help him immensely.

        • Oppenheimer (@gee-moagi) said on 15th June 2011, 10:24

          i think you are right bra, but then again he has always being aggressive,so if he tames his aggression he wont be himself,and he wont win races, personally i think he should try to calculate the scenario and the gap before he attempts to overtake,because i belief his recent bad luck was brought by misjudging wideness of a gap, and taking uncalculated risks,for example if he could calculated that perhaps jenson wasnt gonna see him from behind because of the rain, i think he wouldnt have attempted to overtake him on the left. But other than that, i think his good,i think he will be okay in valencia, as long as he calculates the scenario before he attempts to overtake..But personally i’m agaisnt him taming his aggression, because aggression is what makes him the drive he is..

      • Rob said on 15th June 2011, 9:44

        I would expect that Lewis was briefed to not try too hard – this is just a demo run, not a test, and he wouldn’t exactly impress the Americans by writing off the car.

        • Oppenheimer (@gee-moagi) said on 15th June 2011, 10:37

          writing off the car..hahahahaha.. i hear you bra..but comparing jenson driving that v8 car in aussie and lewis driving that nascar v8, you could tell jenson was more happy to be there, while lewis on the other hand looked like he was there for the sake of being there, he looked a bit down and stressed.So i’m thinking maybe his starting to doubt himself and his driving because of the current criticism..that’s all

        • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 15th June 2011, 16:02

          Not to mention it was wet. He’s obviously familiar with the grip of his own car, but not so much some one else’s. And Watkins Glen’s barriers are pretty close compared to most F1 courses nowadays.

      • Jess said on 15th June 2011, 16:51

        On that it was a wet track and NASCAR Sprint Cup Cars are not designed to drive in the wet.

    • Yeah, I thought he looked like he was having a lot of fun, which was nice to see. I’m surprised to see people saying otherwise! (I did turn to it a bit late, though.)

  4. NJ Joe (@nj-joe) said on 15th June 2011, 2:13

    Just watched the show here on the east coast. Wish it would’ve went on longer. Switching to slicks would’ve been nice to see. Tony should have done a burnout too! Tony seemed to adapt well and Lewis looked like he was taking an easy drive around the park. It seemed like he was ready to do tricks with that beast and do some fancy drifting! I was amazed at the amount of aero on the McLaren compared to this year. I’d prefer the smaller 2008 front wing as opposed to the bulldozer like wings of 2011. Wonder who they will pick next for a seat swap!

  5. Tom said on 15th June 2011, 2:17

    I don’t recall ever seeing a Chevrolet Impala with fake headlights.

  6. Malibu_GP said on 15th June 2011, 2:42

    Watkins Glenn, Road America, Laguna Seca, Infineon, and now circuit of the Americas… There are plenty of sick road courses here. Funny, Stewart’s car is heavier than mine. I’ve only got 600 horses @ 3100 lbs. But I bet Porsche, Bielstein, and Brembo would agree with Me as to which is more fun to drive.

  7. Androoos (@) said on 15th June 2011, 3:18

    I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event today. It was nasty cold and rainy, but as soon as the MP4-23 went by, I forgot all about the cold and the rain. Great event…I wish they would bring F1 back to Watkins Glen, but too many safety changes would be needed. Great thing is, I get to go back next month for a driving event…can’t wait!

    • Keith C in NY said on 15th June 2011, 4:39

      Gutted to have missed it. Just so all know – driving home from work around 6PM the weather was gorgeous; perfect upstate NY. Too bad they didn’t have that for the show. Earlier it was like a Scottish summer’s day. Did I hear that DC was there?

      • Gman said on 15th June 2011, 14:39

        Indeed, DC served as the emcee for the whole show. I just missed getting a track ride-along with him in a street-model Corvette, but did get a photo with him later.

      • james_mc said on 15th June 2011, 19:00

        Rather random appearance by DC I thought!

  8. Malibu_GP said on 15th June 2011, 4:42

    What are You the language police? Sick means good. Thanks for the Sprint car info. I was stating My cars weight, since You seemingly misunderstood. Last time I checked 31 is less than 32…

  9. zappy j said on 15th June 2011, 6:20

    Hamilton hit 3 hotdog stands afterwards and it was not his fault. Expect 10 grid penalty next race.

    • BBT said on 15th June 2011, 8:58

      The hot dog stands unfairly ‘closed the door’.

      Hamliton: “They made a mistake, I was much faster out of the corner, I think I was along side when they squeezed me (or was it the mustard bottle) into the wall, and now I’ve got mustard all over my bling”

    • cyanide (@cyanide) said on 15th June 2011, 10:14

      They see me rollin
      They hatin
      Patrolling they tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      My music so loud
      I’m swangin
      They hopin that they gon catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty
      Tryin to catch me drivin dirty

      [Verse 1 – Chamillionaire]
      Stewards think they can see me lean
      I’m tint so it ain’t easy to be seen
      When you see me drive by they can see the glean
      And my shine on the deck and the TV screen
      Ride with a new chick, she like hold up
      Next to the playstation controller is a full clip and my pistola
      Turn a chicane into a straighta
      Girl you ain’t know, I’m crazy like James Hunt
      Just tryin to race ain’t tryin to have no shunt
      Rock clean itself so I pull in ladies
      Laws of FOM you know they hate me
      Revs turned all the way up until the maximum
      I can speak for some ****** tryin to jack for some
      But we packin somethin that we have and um will have a ***** locked up in the maximum
      Stewards room, I’m grippin oak
      Engine loud and drivin slow
      Twist and twistin like hit this dough
      Safety Car pull up from behind and is in his throat
      Windows down gotta stop pollution
      CDs change ****** like who is that producing?
      This the Play-N-Skillz when we out and cruisin
      Got penalties on every track except Silverstone but I’m still ain’t losin

  10. Malibu_GP said on 15th June 2011, 6:56

    Thanks All! Geez, (cue sarcasm) some Peoples lack of knowledge regarding urban slang is shocking. luvinf1, I just couldn’t resist. You seemed so annoyed. I know…, I’m a good poster. Just not very smart, and overly aggressive. Perhaps I should be banned?

    • LuvinF1 said on 15th June 2011, 19:17

      Not at all. I enjoy reading the opinions of others. English happens to be the 2nd language of the general population where I currently live, and their language is my 3rd language – so I have enough on my hands just keeping up with local news.

      As far as The Glen, I saw my first F1 race there 41 years ago in 1970. Actually, I thought you were taking an “undue” shot at some of my favorite US tracks – but hey – little did I know.

  11. Lee said on 15th June 2011, 8:24

    Did Lewis crash into the Mclaren….?

  12. Bendanarama said on 15th June 2011, 9:04

    Tony Stewart must be glad thats over.

    He can start hitting the Maccies again now.

  13. Dan Selby said on 15th June 2011, 9:53

    “Just not very smart, and overly aggressive. Perhaps I should be banned?”

    Lewis, this isn’t the time or the place, mate…


  14. Doance (@doance) said on 15th June 2011, 10:21

    “If you aint first, you’re last” – NASCAR.

  15. Fixy (@fixy) said on 15th June 2011, 10:28

    Nice to see such initiatives! Hoped some other teams did them.

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