It’s not often that a Formula 1 fan gets to experience what an F1 track feels like from the point of view of a racing driver. An in-car camera just goes so far, and tracks are not always open for the public, or even for track days.
Now, a special Hot Laps program announced by Formula 1 and Pirelli means some lucky participants are able to take part in ridealongs on the same F1 tracks where all the racing action happens. The first two manufacturers that have announced their participation are Aston Martin and McLaren, and as a result the Vantage and 720S will be used in the program. More car manufacturers have reportedly signed up, and they will be named in the near future. The first Hot Laps will be driven at the 2018 Bahrain GP.
The best is still to come. The professional racing drivers that have enlisted for the Hot Laps program are Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen for Aston Martin, and the McLarens will be driven by Mika Häkkinen, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. Imagine being taken for a ride by such wheelmen! Just doing a grocery run with Alonso behind the wheel would probably be exciting enough, let alone getting a track experience.
Of course, the one thing that hasn’t yet been mentioned is the price. We can’t imagine a lap can be very modestly priced in this case, but it will sure be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Unless you can afford two laps, that is.