Daniel Ricciardo Will Drive a Red Bull F1 Car at the Nurburgring

The man with the golden smile will pilot an F1 car at the Nordschleife for the first time in almost a decade.

byLewin Day|
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For the first time in almost a decade, a Formula 1 car will return to the hallowed Nurburgring Nordschleife. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull's charismatic "third driver," will be getting behind the wheel of a demo car to turn a lap later this year.

Ricciardo's visit on Sept. 9 at the Red Bull Formula Nurburgring will take place alongside the 12 Hours of Nurburgring endurance event. The Honey Badger will be joined by a bevy of other motorsport greats and young up-and-comers on two and four wheels alike.

A real Formula 1 car hasn't been seen at the 'Ring since 2013, when Michael Schumacher drove a Mercedes F1 car on a show lap for that year's 24-hour event. Prior to that, 2007 saw Nick Heidfeld drive demo laps in a 2006 BMW-Sauber F1.06. Despite the hopes of fans, it wasn't a record attempt. The car ran on rock-hard demo tires, with the ride height jacked up to the max, and Heidfeld had to slow down for photo opportunities. He got around in 8 minutes and 46 seconds—which was by no means representative of what the car could achieve.

As far as Nurburgring laps go, the outright record stands at 5:19.546, set by Timo Bernhard in the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo back in 2018. For F1 cars, Niki Lauda famously set a time of 6:58.6 back in 1975, though that was on a longer 22.835-km (14.19 miles) circuit rather than the 20.832-km (12.94 miles) circuit used as the standard today. After Lauda's horrific crash in 1976, the series abandoned racing on the full Nordschleife, which was deemed unsuitable for modern F1 cars. A shorter Grand Prix circuit was later used on and off from 1984 to 2020.

There's no word if Daniel Ricciardo will be taking a shot at a lap record during his visit. However, if such an attempt was on the cards, there'd be plenty of crowing about it. In reality, official Nurburgring lap times are recorded in closed sessions and under highly controlled conditions. A public demo day is sadly none of those things. Expect a few fans in the stands to bust out stopwatches, nonetheless.

Formula 1 cars stand at the pinnacle of track performance, while the Nurburgring stands as the most challenging racing circuit ever built. It's a shame we don't see F1 cars smashing lap records at the Green Hell. It's understandable, of course, given an F1 car isn't built to handle the lumps and bumps of the Nordschleife, but we can still dream.

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