multIple tRANs-Am, ImsA
ANd GRANd-Am ChAmpIoN
Sunday to test Monday and Tuesday when there was nobody around! It was a ghost town. Go out there, drive hard, practice long distance runs, qualifying runs, with different constructions. We knew there’d be a pot of gold at the end
of the rainbow, but we had to get there.
What would I have liked to? Probably
a car from F1’s ’80s turbo era. So I’ll say
a turbocharged Brabham-BMW (ABOVE,
BT52 in 1983), and I actually saw it at the
BMW museum this year. They just let the
engines run as much boost as it could,
throwing 1,200-1,300hp at this thing
that weighed 1,200lbs. It was a rocket!
Favorite? Well certainly
the Indy cars that we
drove in 1995, ’ 96, ’ 97.
Wicked fast, fun to drive,
lot of horsepower, lot of
downforce, and the tire
war between Goodyear and Firestone.
You had these sticky tires, with a lot of
grip, and it was the perfect storm of all
these elements that made these cars
just incredible and fun to drive.
The tire testing (for Firestone) was
actually a bit boring! We rolled in when
everyone else rolled out. We’d test when
the rubber was down. We showed up
Red Bull RACING
FoRmulA 1 dRIveR
The best car I drove was
the Williams-BMW FW26.
This was the car I first
tested at Williams and
[Juan Pablo] Montoya had
just won in Brazil with it at
the end of 2004. From what I’d been
used to at Jaguar, the step up in both
horsepower – which was huge – and
downforce was really, really eye-opening.
The 2010 Red Bull RB6 gets pretty close
to being my favorite, but that didn’t have
the thrill of all that grunt.
The car I wished I’d driven would be
another Williams – the Williams FW14B
(BELOW), the one with all the technical
bells and whistles on it; Nigel Mansell’s car
from 1992, designed by Adrian Newey, of
course. That was just the ultimate car,
with the ultimate toys on it, including the
active suspension, and I’d have loved to
have tried it. Having said that, Adrian
reckons the RB6 was very close in
GIL DE FERRAN
2003 INdy 500 wINNeR ANd two-tIme CARt ChAmp
If I had to pick a favorite,
it would be the 2001
Penske-run Reynard – the
“Renske” (LEFT) as it was
known. It was a Reynard
re-engineered by Penske
Cars in the UK. It looked like a work of art
and had tons of grip and power. It was
strong on all types of track and I think the
Honda engine was making 900hp – and
driving 900hp around a street circuit is
something not many people can relate to.
Spectacular. Even if you tested throughout
the day before, you’d get in next day, put
your foot down and go, “S***, this thing is
fast!” The minimum corner speed was
immense, the gearbox was beautiful, brakes
were mega…and I won my second title in it.