McLaren 720S

McLaren and Aston Martin to run road cars at F1 race weekends

2018 F1 season

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Formula One has announced a new Pirelli Hot Laps programme which will take place at 10 rounds on the 2018 F1 calendar.

Fans, celebrities and guests will have the chance to be driven around the circuit by a current race driver during the race weekend, beginning with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin Vantage
Red Bull’s duo will drive an Aston Martin
Aston Martin and McLaren have been confirmed as the first two manufacturers to supply cars, with “more leading automotive brands” to be announced within the coming weeks.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, whose Red Bull team has a technical partnership with Aston Martin, will drive an Aston Martin Vantage at most of the Hot Lap events. The Aston Martin Valkyrie, designed in conjunction with the F1 team, will also make an appearance in the programme during the year.

McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne plus two-times champion Mika Hakkinen and reserve driver Lando Norris will use a McLaren 720S.

The event will be presented by Pirelli, whose tyres will be used for the demonstration runs. The cars will be displayed in a Pirelli garage within the paddock.

Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola described the programme as “the first ongoing experience designed specifically for fans to sample the speed and emotion of on-the-limit driving from the inside, on actual circuits used during each grand prix weekend.”

F1’s managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches said the new addition to race weekends “represents a new opportunity to allow Formula One fans to get closer to a real track experience.”

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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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29 comments on “McLaren and Aston Martin to run road cars at F1 race weekends”

  1. This will be fun until someone bins it 😁

    1. And even more fun then.

  2. Brilliant! Absolutely love it! Even better would be to have a ProCar-style championship for these events.

    1. Absolutely! I have been saying this for years. Why has this not happened yet!? What a great opportunity to throw some guest drivers in too.

      With a little ballast equalisation, my money’s on Mansell still having what it takes to show these youngsters what a ‘charge’ really is!

      Think he’d fit in a Ginetta Junior? :)

    2. I came her to make that exact comment!! I agree 100%. I’d love that

  3. Pirrelli tyres? So it will be only two laps? C’mon

  4. Let’s hope more fans rather than celebrities and guests get this experience. Being driven around a somewhat fast lap by Alonso or Max V in a Mclaren and Aston Martin would be an experience to cherish for any fan.

    1. Exactly @pinakghosh, this will only be as great an idea as it can be if they really allow regular fans to get in those cars.

      I saw the RB guys drive VIP-guests around already in Austria. It did cut the waiting time for the pitwalk. And we tried to make our first pictures. But it was still watching rich ppl getting something we’ll never get

  5. Ferrari has to respond.

    1. What tyres do they put on their cars?

      1. Aston and McLaren have both used Michelin and others on their street cars at times, not sure what is current but last I saw McLaren was using Michelins.

        Ferrari has used both Michelin and Bridgestone, found it funny the Enzo was tested on Michelins while the F1 team ran Bridgestones at the time.

  6. Sounds great for about 3 seconds… then you realize how boring this will be for everyone except the lucky few that get a ride! Shouldn’t they add proper support races instead of boring demonstration runs?
    Ferrari already has a showcase of their cars at most race weekends — the Ferrari Challenge. It’s highly competitive racing by amateur racers (doctors, lawyers, etc).

    1. Dead centre bullseye!

    2. Would be better if every team would bring two (or more) cars. Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren should be able to bring something too.

    3. @mtlracer, most race weekend usually have at least one support race, and usually multiple support races – for example, the support races for the Spanish GP included Formula 2 and Porsche Supercup races – so surely they are already meeting your suggestion? There is also something of a practical limit given that most circuits have a limited amount of room in the garages, particularly those which are only semi-permanent facilities – places such as Albert Park or the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve come to mind.

      1. The only race I’ve ever attended is the Montreal one, and I make it a point to visit the support race paddocks every time I go. Of all the circuits on the F1 calendar, it is the most constrained for space (simply being on an man-made island), but it also has the highest attendance of all races for the whole race weekend.
        The on-track action is non-stop… the gaps between sessions are just barely long enough to allow the marshals and officials to do their jobs with respect to cleaning the track in case of incidents. In order to have demonstration runs here, it would have to replace existing support races, which is what I’m totally against…. especially if it’s the Historic F1s that get chopped.

    4. I like the idea of these hot laps, as long as they are in addition to support races. Events like the Australian Grand Prix have a bummer support line up; with a championship round of the Australian Supercars, The Australian GT Championship, Porsche Carrera Cup, and the Asia Pacific Ferrari Challenge. If these hot laps were to replace the Ultimate Speed Challenge (which is the definition of boring after you’ve seen it one time), I would be quite supportive of the idea.

    5. You never been to a race then?

      All have a full programme, you canbe watching racing most of Saturday and Sunday morning.

      ‘fanatic’ was well retired it would appear

      1. Have you been to all the races? Yes some of the bigger races will have Porsche supercup, maybe F2 etc but it’s really not as action packed as it could be. I’ve looked at just two schedules from last year and you’d be surprised:
        Bahrain – 4hr30 support action (2hrs racing)
        Russia – 1hr15 support (40m racing)

        I think Bahrain’s probably more of the norm with some of the European rounds maybe better supported but I’m not sure that there’s much support for the flyaway travel brochure events.

  7. It is a good idea.

  8. Just like you’ve seen on YouTube, they should broadcast in-car video of the driver and passenger to be shown live on the big screens at the track. That would keep the audience engaged.

  9. Amazing, brilliant idea. Anyone had to sit round for hours in the rain when on Friday when trams do not come out will appreciate this kind of thing being extended to fill the gaps in. Many of these roadways sound better than F1 cars as well.

  10. Is this for the grid kids, or the ex-grid girls?

  11. Reading these comments, I’ve got to remind ypu guys that not the guests will drive the cars, but the F1 drivers.
    The guests will be passangers.
    It’s just the same promo lap thing the teams are already doing on their sponsor events.

  12. I rather just see the F1 drivers post timed laps in identical road cars.

  13. Why aren’t Mercedes and Ferrari running cars as well? It’s great for fans to be driven around in the fastest road cars by the best drivers in the world.

  14. Although announced by Pirelli I would be very surprised if this not just another of Sean Bratches, thinly disguised, ‘F1 Experiences’. In which rich punters, paying through the nose, get to have a short ride in the world’s most expensive taxi. Very elitist and again nothing for the true fans.

  15. Unlike grid girls this is actuall a meaningful change… Other teams should join in. Showcase what they can do.

  16. I’d be much more excited if a manufacturer chose one road legal car within a certain price bracket from their range and they just had an actual 5 lap exhibition race in them amongst the drivers! Who cares about millionaires getting passenger rides, they can likely do that anyway.

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