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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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85 comments on “Hamilton drives NASCAR at Watkins Glen”

  1. Tony Stewart could fit into an F1 car ;)

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

    1. LOL.

      Implying that Hamilton wouldn’t LOVE to race in a series that has fenders on its cars, LOL again.

      Also, it’s mighty difficult to “drive” an acronym, Keith. Just call it a car, but it ain’t a NASCAR.

      1. Technically, it would be a ‘Chevrolet Impala Sprint Cup Car’, although it looks a lot like a Nationwide Series car or a pre-COT Nextel/Winston Cup car to me.

        1. that’s a current-generation sprint cup car. if it were a nationwide car it would be smaller and an older car would have the driver to the far left.

          1. Oh, Ok. I thought it wasn’t a COT because the rear spoiler didn’t look as pronounced, but I stand corrected!

      2. I LOLed at this picture, looks like he has just stepped on the loud pedal and gone “Holy s…..!” Because his eyes are about to pop out of his head! LOL


    2. I was surprised Stewart could fit, too. Look at his double chin.

      1. You might have noticed, they did not put on the last part of the cockpit enclosure, that U formed foam part that closes it neat and tightly.

        1. The HANS device? Good job he didn’t wall it then.

          1. I later noticed, they only took out part of the foam and put the rest back in, for safety reasons, i guess.

    3. Tony Stewart could fit into an F1 car

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

      Actually, …they way he has been driving lately, NASCAR suits him just fine.

      1. Ba dum tssshhh

        Although he would probably be better than Kimi that’s for sure!

      2. come on guys, we have seen worst in the past. Takumo Sato, Yuji are some examples.

        Lewis is just going through a rough patch… that’s it.

    4. that was my exact first thought…must of been some serious cockpit modification

  2. 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.. :\

    1. 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.

    2. that was my first thought also – boy were they ugly

    3. 2010 and 2011 cars both produce more downforce at less drag.

      FIA tinkering getting annoying though.

      1. It always has been annoying I think.

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

        1. 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. 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.

    1. 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..

      1. 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.

        1. 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..

      2. 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.

        1. 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

        2. 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.

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

    2. 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.)

      1. you r right bra i think he was having fun also. he only looked stressed before he jumped into the car, after he did i think he was having fun.

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

    1. To quote Robert Duval: “Ain’t nothin’ stock about a stock car.”

      1. I’m sure there’s some sort of mashup to be made with Robert Duvall shouting “We’re eating ice cream.” and placing Kimi’s infamous post-race video clip with it…

        1. I had to look up the Kimi video. That would indeed be funny!! Or how bout Duvall on the radio to Hamilton saying “rubbing is racing” and Hamilton banging into people!

        2. Fred Schechter
          15th June 2011, 5:54

          That’s some real nice work there;)

  6. 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.

    1. I drive a 1.8l 1998 Holden Astra. Envious?

      1. @Magnificent Geoffrey – Nice

    2. What exactly is a “sick road course”? And that’s 3200 pounds without driver and fuel for a Sprint Cup Car.

      1. “sick” as in “ill”, “mad”, “deaf”, “dope”, “bad” and “outstanding”

        1. ..and if those words haven’t cleared it up “amazing” or “magnificent” may also do!

        2. So “sick” means “outstanding”?? So “you’re a sick pup, man” is a good thing??

          1. LuvinF1, are you a 5-year-old kid who doesn’t understand words can have multiple meanings, among which there can be nonliteral meanings?

            When somebody is described as being green, does it only mean that he is the colour of grass or can it also mean he’s inexperienced?

            If the crane is a bird, then when I say “They had to use a crane to lift the car”, does it mean a bird lifted the car?

            You only make yourself look silly, mate.

        3. radical, tubular, bogus, awesome…

    3. Ill? I know that some tracks on F1 make me want to vomit, but Watkins Glen looks good….

  7. Androoos (@)
    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!

    1. Keith C in NY
      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?

      1. 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.

      2. Rather random appearance by DC I thought!

  8. 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…

    1. Not by the significant you seemed to want to impress with.

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

    1. 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”

    2. 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

      1. well, that sure is something

      2. LOL! Dude! Very very good!

      3. Actually, this song will def be remade in the future when we finally move on to something better than petrol based cars.

  10. 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?

    1. 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. Did Lewis crash into the Mclaren….?

    1. He closed the door though. They’re just picking on him since he’s black

  12. Tony Stewart must be glad thats over.

    He can start hitting the Maccies again now.

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

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


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

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

  16. Joe Saward included links to 4 videos of the swap – http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/lewis-and-tony-swap-cars/ .
    It drew a great crowd for happening on a rainy monday!

    1. It was actually Tuesday, but still a good point :)

    1. Tony Stewart gets stuck in Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car

      1. Ichh. How wonderfully contrived.

      2. Slightly harsh on poor Stewart!

  17. Nascar makes more sense for Lewis, you don’t have to think much and you can just drive into other cars.

    1. That explains why Montoya went to race them…

      1. lol yeah, he loves to spin out all the rednecks.

        1. MVEilenstein
          16th June 2011, 0:52

          Stereotypes are fun!

      2. That was more because he couldn’t fit into an F1 car.. ;-)

  18. andrew_s (@)
    15th June 2011, 14:33

    is there anywhere we can watch this online?

  19. Any times?

  20. I don’t know what planet some of you are on, but the 2009-2011 cars don’t put out nearly as much downforce as the 2008 and previous cars. They traded aero(downforce) grip for mechanical (slicks).

    If you put the current slicks on hamiltons 2008 car and lapped at every circuit you would see 4-5 seconds off todays quali times easily.

  21. In addition, the only reason lap times didn’t drop off drastically this year is that the DRS is far more efficient than the F-duct ever was in reducing downforce. The fact that they can use it anywhere they want during quali is why lap times haven’t changed at all. If you put drs on any car from the last 3 years it would lap significantly faster than todays cars. Just to dispel the myth that engineers have made up the difference.

    1. TheScuderia (@)
      16th June 2011, 3:05

      There is no rewinding the clock to put slicks and DRS on the 2008 cars. And You’re living in a fantasy world if you believe slicks would suddenly make the 08 cars 4-5 seconds faster than this year’s cars.

  22. What was Coulthard doing there?

  23. Ahhh, a master linguist. Well surely, You have the capacity to process the subtle inferences often reflected in “slangSpeak”? ;) I was in no way disrespecting the Glenn. You have reminded Me that sometimes I am not communicating as effectively as I’d like to think. For that I’m grateful…, because as somewhat of a linguist Myself, I prefer My message, (no matter how trivial) be interpreted correctly.

  24. A timely bump by Keith on Twitter for Lewis Hamilton’s ‘I want to try a NASCAR race’ aspirations – the Sprint Cup actually visits Watkins Glen this weekend, the very track Lewis tried Tony Stewart’s Chevy on back in 2011.

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