Montoya/Gordon ready for Indy ultimate test drive

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 9, 2003 -- Call it the ultimate test drive. Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and Formula One superstar Juan Pablo Montoya will swap cars Wednesday, June 11 during a speed demonstration on the...

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 9, 2003 -- Call it the ultimate test drive.

Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and Formula One superstar Juan Pablo Montoya will swap cars Wednesday, June 11 during a speed demonstration on the 2.606-mile road circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as each will get a chance to feel the need for speed in a completely unfamiliar ride.

Gordon will drive Montoya's HP Williams-BMW FW 24 Formula One car, while Montoya will turn laps in Gordon's Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It's the first time behind the wheel of the respective cars for both drivers.

The demonstration starts with a photo opportunity at 11 a.m. (EST, Indy time).

"I'm fascinated with the technology involved in Formula One racing and am excited about the chance to drive an F1 car," Gordon said. "It should be a lot of fun to see firsthand what F1 drivers face during a lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

Said Montoya, "I think it will be pretty exciting, just try it out and try to have some fun."

Both drivers will feel at home at Indy. Gordon has won the Brickyard 400 three times on the famed 2.5-mile oval, while Montoya won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 on the oval and has competed in the last two United States Grands Prix at Indianapolis on the road circuit.

The Brickyard 400 takes place Sunday, Aug. 3, with the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, Sept. 28.

Montoya already is preparing for the different driving style required to muscle a 3,400-pound stock car around the road circuit. His F1 car weighs slightly more than 1,300 pounds.

"It's going to move around a lot," Montoya said. "It's going to take a long time to slow down compared to what I'm used to, but it will be fun."

And Montoya isn't disappointed one bit that he's not going to take the Dupont Chevrolet on its natural home at Indy, the oval.

"I decided to go for the road course in the NASCAR because it's been 2 ½ years since I've been on an oval," Montoya said. "Never having driven one of those cars, I think doing it on the superspeedway wasn't the most smart thing to do."

But Montoya predicts that Gordon will have a blast with the 900-horsepower, high-downforce FW24 on the road circuit at Indy.

"I think he's going to have quite a good time," Montoya said. "I think he'll be surprised by the performance of the car. It's a completely different style. Because the limit of the car is so high, he's going to have a lot of fun."

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TV: SPEED Channel will televise the Gordon-Montoya speed demonstration live starting at 1 p.m. (EDT) June 11. Bob Varsha will be the host, with former NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds and former F1 mechanic Steve Matchett as analysts.

Both Gordon and Montoya will be wired for sound, and the cars will be equipped with multiple on-board cameras.

A replay will be shown at 7 p.m. and midnight (EDT) that evening and at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) June 20.

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Fans: The South Terrace grandstand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be open for fans wishing to watch the speed demonstration with Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Fans should enter at Gate 2, the main entrance near the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Gate 2 opens at 9 a.m. (EST). Admission is free.

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams