Formula 1 cars are lithe, lightweight, and low to the ground, with tons of downforce to provide grip at speed. Monster trucks are pretty much the opposite in all regards. Thus, Red Bull thought it would be funny to throw a couple of its F1 drivers behind the wheel for some hijinx in an old mine.
The video comes as part of Red Bull's (Un)serious Race Series, which started with its drivers racing mini jet boats in Australia. For the second outing, Red Bull ace Max Verstappen and Alpha Tauri driver Yuki Tsunoda were ferried over to the Erzberg mine in Austria to duke it out in jacked-up monster trucks.
"Mega" is the most appropriate adjective used to describe these trucks. A single tire weighs 1,543 pounds, not far off the total weight of a 2023 F1 car. The trucks stand a lofty three meters high measured from ground to roof. To motivate all that heft, the trucks have a rear-mid-mounted V8 engine good for 500 horsepower. Twenty years ago, that was a big number. However, it pales in comparison to some of the Monster Jam trucks, which typically boast closer to 1,500 hp.
It bears noting that the trucks don't really have an inside and outside. It's amusing to watch Tsunoda's tiny frame climbing into the cab, where he has precious little protection from mud and water splashing up from below. We also get a look at the huge brake and throttle return springs mounted to the pedals, as well as the mighty remote reservoir dampers mounted to the roll cage.
Verstappen and Tsunoda got their eye in at first by driving over cars, a typical lark pursued by the monster truck faithful. "I'm so scared" said Yuki, a particularly astounding statement from a man who regularly pilots an F1 car at 220 mph. "Just keep it straight Yuki!" Max implored as the Japanese driver smashed his truck over a handful of battered old vehicles.
Next up, the drivers took on qualifying duties around the bumpy, muddy circuit. Tsunoda was able to lay down a 58:37 second lap after his first attempt ended with a hilarious and embarrassing stall off the line. Verstappen topped it by a full three seconds, mimicking his dominant performances throughout the 2023 F1 season.
The race goes quite awry for Verstappen, though, when his truck suffers a major misfire. Tsunoda pounced, quickly walking away with the lead, and ended up taking home the trophy for the completely unsanctioned event. He later admits that a touch of water in his rival's engine might have been the deciding factor in the race.
These races are about as real as those on the glory days of Top Gear, but it's nonetheless fun to see these million-dollar drivers having a lark away from the bright lights of F1. It's also a reminder that it's nowhere near as dangerous as it looks, as there's no way Red Bull would risk its star drivers for a bit of cheesecake video. Cool, though.
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