• Aug 23, 2011
"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on television." If that line sounds familiar from old television commercials featuring soap opera stars in white coats, bear in mind that the theme extends far beyond the annals of fake medicine. People get mixed up between actors and the characters they play all the time.

Tom Cruise, for example, has driven all sorts of vehicles on the silver screen, from cars to motorbikes to speed boats, often pulling off scarcely believable stunts and feats in the process. But how much of that comes down to camera trickery and special effects, and how much can be chalked up to actual driving talent?

We got a pretty good answer when Cole Trickle himself set the lap record (however short-lived) on Britain's Top Gear, but Cruise wasn't about to stop there. So while David Coulthard and the Red Bull demonstration team were Stateside for a show in Texas, they met the Hollywood mega-star out in Southern California to let him try his hand at driving an Formula One car.

The seven-hour test at Willow Springs started in a road car, where Coulthard and Cruise drove the 2.5-mile track to get a feeling for the layout before the Mission: Impossible star climbed into the F1 car for 24 laps. At the end of the day, Cruise managed a top speed of 181 miles per hour – just four mph off of DC's trap speed – while scrubbing 11 seconds off his first lap – a marked improvement that left Coulthard impressed at Tom's skills.

Stay tuned for video footage when it's released and check out the official snapshots in the gallery for a closer look.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      Jake S
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thanks be to Xenu. Tom Cruise's Thetan levels must be going through the roof during this lunar cycle. He ran that F1 car like a DC-8, missing the fans, of course.
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      His car ran on pure Thetan and passion.
      Duane
      • 3 Years Ago
      this guys an adrenaline junky!!! love to be in his shoes!
      av
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hope he did not attempt to drive it on 2 wheels like the KIA he drove in Top Gear
      Redline
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice. I'm impressed.
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      He's an A$$.
        The Law
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        Some ones a little jealous don't you think?
        The Law
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        How is he an A$$ please explain griffer?
      Eyewants
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's not a face I would want to see in a helmet. Its like seeing my sister pulling up in a Ferrari or Lambo. It does take skill to drive these cars. Although a novice may show some talent, let's not forget that he is from Hollywood and that while the car is actually at speed we cannot see the stunt double behind the visor. This is in no doubt some kind of advanced promotion for a possibly upcoming movie feature which if Tom plays the part of a winning driver, I am not interested. If it truly is him behind the visor, then boo! Take your money and find something else to do with all of your wasteful time! What's the matter, Indycars were the wrong color for the day?
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Eyewants
        Go troll someplace else! It's nice to know that behind the many faces of a Hollywood actor lies an actual car guy. One with more driving skill than you could ever dream of having. Not exactly the next F1 world champion, but competent nontheless.
      Tippy Dobbs
      • 3 Years Ago
      Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but you have to be an excellent driver just to get an F1 car around a track. Color me impressed.
        bleexeo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tippy Dobbs
        Indeed. It's very tough. Cruise is not a complete neophyte, however, when it comes to operating high performance machinery. He's raced SCCA and IMSA. He has a fleet of high performance cars and motorcycles. He pilots his own P-51 Mustang and Pitts Special stunt plane as well as a Gulfstream IV - so he's used to complicated cockpits and extreme physical forces. He even does a lot of film stunts himself. So whether or not you think he's a ********, it's still pretty impressive that he did that well in an F1 car.
      P
      • 3 Years Ago
      Jeez, some guys just have it good, eh? The guy flies his own P-51 Mustang, rides $100k motorcycles and gets his own F1 test in an RB car. Damn you Tom Cruise, DAMN YOU! FWIW, I've seen him driving a standard 997 Carrera S around here (LA). Pretty low profile in these parts.
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 3 Years Ago
      Soaring to new heights thanks to L. Ron Hubbard!
      Dan
      • 3 Years Ago
      He actually did about average on the top gear track. People are posting better and better times with the new car.
        Narom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan
        He used the new car and is second or third on the board. Hardly average is it?
        Tippy Dobbs
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan
        ...which means you can't compare his time with the new ones since they're using a different vehicle. His time was quite fast in the car that he drove.
          The T
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tippy Dobbs
          The most recent car (Kia Cee'd) has been in service since the start of the 2010 season. Tom Cruise's appearance was the week of July 22, 2010. He drove the most recent car. He ranks #4 out of 27 including wet laps and #4 out of 17 excluding wet/damp laps.
          Krishan Mistry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tippy Dobbs
          He did drive the new one, a Kia Cee-apostrophe-D. Just turns out that British Northerner comedians are the fastest slow car drivers Top Gear has ever seen. Tom did lose some time by spending a full second on 2 wheels, and his Hammerhead line was not the best.
        Jake S
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan
        They used Jeremy Clarkson's stunt driver. I'm sure of it.
      Maverick
      • 3 Years Ago
      I bet they'd let me drive one of those too if I could afford to pay if I binned it.
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