It's been several decades since Formula 1 has visited Watkins Glen, but the high-pitched scream of a modern grand prix racer is set to return there this summer for a special demonstration.
As we initially reported back in February, Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart will be swapping keys for the day, the Formula One World Champion taking the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet Impala stock car while the two-time wielder of the NASCAR Sprint Cup will slink into the cockpit of the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23, the car which Hamilton drove to the world championship in 2008.
The initiative is being undertaken by Mobil, which sponsors both drivers in their respective series, and will take place on June 14 at the 3.4-mile road-course in upstate New York – one of the few locations (alongside such notables as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal) that has played host to both F1 and NASCAR over the course of its storied history. It's also where McLaren locked up the first of its many world championships, with Emerson Fittipaldi behind the wheel at the 1974 United States Grand Prix.
It ought to be an interesting experience for both drivers, each of whom has mastered his respective motorsport discipline as well as the feeder series' that led them to where they are today. Follow the jump for more details in the full press release.
Formula 1™'s Hamilton & NASCAR's Stewart Trade Cars in "Mobil 1 Car Swap"
Mobil 1 will pair champion drivers on June 14 at Watkins Glen International®
- Lewis Hamilton will drive the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala, and Tony Stewart will drive the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23
- Exhibition to take place on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn long course at Watkins Glen in upstate New York
- Mobil 1 has been Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' engine lubricant of choice for 17 years, "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR" for nine consecutive years and is in its first year with Stewart-Haas Racing
FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mobil 1 is bringing Formula 1™ World Champion Driver Lewis Hamilton and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart together to swap race cars at the legendary Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. This exhibition builds upon Mobil 1's more than three decades of supporting motorsports champions and globally renowned race teams.
"Since 1978, Mobil 1, the world's leading synthetic motor oil brand, has been the lubricant of choice for race teams competing in the world's most demanding and popular motorsports series. We're incredibly excited to bring together two champions for their first experiences in the other driver's car"
The Mobil 1 Car Swap will take place on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. Hamilton will take laps in Stewart's No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala and Stewart will climb into the cockpit of the team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23. The drivers will drive each other's car on the long course at The Glen, experiencing the 3.4-mile, 11-turn lap course.
"Since 1978, Mobil 1, the world's leading synthetic motor oil brand, has been the lubricant of choice for race teams competing in the world's most demanding and popular motorsports series. We're incredibly excited to bring together two champions for their first experiences in the other driver's car," said Rebecca K. Aldred, Mobil 1 global brand manager, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties. "Though the cars they drive are very different, the competitive spirit that Tony, Lewis and their respective teams share is indistinguishable, as is their team's reliance on Mobil 1 lubricant technology."
Hamilton and Stewart, known for their prodigious car control and sustained success across a number of racing disciplines before reaching Formula 1™ and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series respectively, are eagerly anticipating the chance to give up their seat to a fellow champion.
"I spend a lot of time in race cars, but this will be the first time I've been at the wheel of a NASCAR stock car, in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet," said Formula 1™ World Champion driver Lewis Hamilton. "Tony and I will have some fun with the swap and make sure we put on a good show. American race fans are massively enthusiastic about motorsports, so I hope to see a lot of them down at The Glen to see it firsthand. It's a racers circuit and will give us both the chance to understand the differences between the two styles of racing at this legendary track. Watkins Glen also has a particular connection to the team, as it is where McLaren won our first Drivers' and Constructors' world championship in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi; I'm looking forward to getting back there with the latest generation of McLaren's machines!"
Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart said, "When you've been around competitive racing for as long as I have, you really look forward to new experiences, and this car swap with Lewis is definitely one of those opportunities. I already have quite a bit of respect for what Lewis and the F1 drivers and teams do, so to experience laps in the cockpit of a F1 car and see what Lewis can do in the Cup car, is something I am really excited about."
This year marks the debut season in which Mobil 1 is the co-primary sponsor of Tony Stewart's No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing, and the ninth consecutive season in which Mobil 1 is the "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR."
ExxonMobil began its relationship with McLaren in 1995, with its Mobil 1 synthetic lubricant brand, developing new lubricants and fuels designed to help improve the race team's performance, efficiency and reliability. During the course of the partnership, the focus on technical innovation has contributed to McLaren winning four Formula 1™ World Championships, along with 66 Grand Prix race victories and 201 podium finishes.
Hamilton, the 2008 Formula 1™ World Champion and driver for team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, has been winning races ever since he was big enough to reach the pedals. He won his first British Karting Championship at the age of 10, and famously introduced himself to McLaren Group Executive Chairman Ron Dennis at the annual Autosport Awards in the UK, saying, "I'm going to drive for you one day." Easy words to say, but Hamilton proved his determination by crushing all opposition on his way to the European title, and with support from McLaren-Mercedes he moved up to car racing in the Formula Renault Winter Series in 2001. After dominating performances in British Formula Renault, the F3 Euro and GP2 Series, Lewis was truly ready to make good on his words from all those years ago, and at the Australian GP in 2007 he made his Formula 1™ debut for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
Like Hamilton, Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala, has a record of winning championships in several series – solidifying his reputation as one of the most skilled drivers of his generation. After posting championships in United States Auto Club and IZOD IndyCar Series, Stewart has been one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' most successful drivers since joining the elite series in 1999. To date, Stewart has recorded two series championships (2002 and 2005) and 39 Cup wins and has a series-best streak of 12 consecutive seasons with at least one victory.
About Mobil 1 in Motorsports
Mobil 1's history in motorsports officially began in 1978 with a sponsorship of Williams Formula One Racing Team. From that time, Mobil 1's presence on race tracks and circuits has grown by global proportions. Today, Mobil 1 synthetic oil is relied on for its ability to deliver exceptional engine performance and protection even under some of the most extreme conditions by automotive technicians, race car drivers, team owners and the world's leading automotive manufacturers
Along with its status as the Official Motor Oil of NASCAR, Mobil 1 enjoys a long association with many of world's most popular and successful race teams, including the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1™ team, Corvette Racing's American LeMans Series team, as well as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup-the world's fastest international one-make series.
About Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren founded the McLaren team in 1963. It entered its first grand prix in 1966 and won its first Formula 1™ race in 1968. More than 40 years and 170 grand prix victories later, the team is still renowned as one of the sport's most successful competitors and as one of the world's most illustrious high-technology brands.
The McLaren Group has grown to encompass much more than just racing. Housing a cutting-edge electronics division that not only services the entire Formula 1 grid but also many racing series across the globe. McLaren Applied Technologies creates cutting-edge solutions for modern industry while McLaren Automotive not only produced the 1990s' original supercar, the F1, and the unique Mercedes-Benz SLR but has recently unveiled the prototype of its newest vehicle – the MP4-12C. www.mclaren.com
About Stewart-Haas Racing
Stewart-Haas Racing is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world. The team fields two entries in the elite Sprint Cup Series – the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Impala for Stewart, and the No. 39 U.S. Army/Tornados/Haas Automation Chevrolet Impala for 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman. Based in Kannapolis, N.C., Stewart-Haas Racing operates out of a 140,000-square-foot facility with more than 150 employees.
For more information, visit StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing and on Twitter at @StewartHaasRacng.
About Watkins Glen International®
Located in Upstate New York, Watkins Glen International's rich history started over 60 years ago, when the first post- World War II road race ran on the village streets in 1948. "The Glen" became world renowned by hosting the United States Grand Prix from 1961-1980 and has been home to NASCAR Cup races since 1986. This season marks the 50th anniversary of The Glen's inaugural F1 race in 1961.
For more information, visit TheGlen.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/watkinsgleninternational and on Twitter at @WGI.
Mobil and Mobil 1 are registered trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation or one of its subsidiaries.