Wickens wows the crowds in Mexico Red Bull Racing Formula One demonstrations October 10, 2007 - Toronto, Ontario -- Red Bull Junior Driver Robert Wickens got the chance recently, to participate in what could only be described as the ultimate ...
Wickens wows the crowds in Mexico Red Bull Racing Formula One demonstrations
October 10, 2007 - Toronto, Ontario -- Red Bull Junior Driver Robert Wickens got the chance recently, to participate in what could only be described as the ultimate motorsports experience and drive a Formula One race car. The eighteen-year-old Toronto native was invited by Red Bull Racing to drive one of the team's show cars in a series of promotional events conducted by Red Bull Mexico. Robert's reaction? A very emphatic, "Wow!"
Red Bull Mexico arranged for the special events to take place over two weekends, closing off streets in Monterrey on September 30 and then Guadalajara the following weekend. The "course" allowed the driver to conduct straight-line acceleration runs, burnouts and of course, big, tire-smoking donuts. Monterrey featured a 10 kilometer stretch of open road while the "track" in Guadalajara was a very wide, one kilometer stretch that included a large skid-pad-like area around a central fountain. In both events, the course was lined with crowds numbering into the tens of thousands and Robert was front and centre.
Robert, the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion and 2007 Champ Car Atlantic BBS Rising Star would spend a day in England at the Red Bull Racing factory testing in the team's F1 simulator. The result of the test was an invitation to drive the real thing in Mexico just a few days later. The Red Bull Junior jumped at the chance and armed with a passel of new gear, Robert joined the special events team in Monterrey, Mexico for the first session.
Wickens, who is also the first Canadian to sit at the wheel of a modern era Formula One since Jacques Villeneuve, would do a shakedown of the car at a remote facility on Saturday (29th) and talk strategy for the demonstrations to take place the next day. On Sunday, the crowds came early and lined the ten kilometer route and Robert would not disappoint putting on a show along the entire distance. Robert would be as popular out of the car with the thousands of fans calling his name and clamoring for autographs.
A few days rest at home in Toronto and Robert would head to Guadalajara for another demonstration run. Red Bull Mexico had set up a shorter course that would bring the people closer while giving Robert more room to play to the crowd. Again, he put on a show and the crowds went wild for the noise and the speed that is Formula One. The event was such a crowd pleaser that it did not take long for video to show up on popular video-sharing web sites. Evident in most photos of the event are the many cellphone cameras being used to capture the event. Red Bull Mexico recorded official footage of the event which will be available at a later date. Clips are available by selecting the URL's included with this release. The event also garnered significant media coverage with nightly newscasts and newspaper reports.
Needless to say, Robert is thrilled by the experience and it did not take much prompting to elicit even the shortest quote. "It was cool" offered Robert over the phone from the airport. "It was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. Just to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car is amazing" he continued, "but to be able to put on a show for so many enthusiastic fans is just an awesome experience."
Robert is now en route to the Red Bull Junior facilities in Austria for fitness training before resuming driving duties.
1) Robert is the first Canadian to since Jacques Villeneuve to turn a wheel in a modern era Formula One race car. He joins a small and elite group of Canadian drivers who have done so since 1966. Robert at eighteen, is by far the youngest of the group to do so.
2) Robert is the first driver from the Formula BMW USA series to sit at the wheel of a Formula One. Robert was awarded a BMW Junior Scholarship in 2005 and again for the 2006 season when he would go on to win the series championship.
3) Robert earned his way onto the Red Bull Junior Team through the tenacity and hard work he demonstrated at the 2005 Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain. Robert would become the first Canadian named to the Red Bull Junior Team.