Watch: F1 ace Daniel Ricciardo tries out V8 Nissan Supercar
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All motorsport fans have fantasy ideas, where they take a star from one series and wonder what they would be like if they were to swap codes and race in another. And undoubtedly one of the more common desires would be to see Renault Formula 1 pilot Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel of an entry in the Supercars Championship.
While its unlikely to ever become a reality, Ricciardo got a taste for the idea via a few laps in Kelly Racing's Castrol-backed Nissan Altima at Calder Park ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
"Honestly, I was quite nervous because it's something I've seen my whole life," said a grinning Ricciardo. "People might be like 'you drive in F1, what's a V8 to you?', but I don't look at it in the same league. It's a totally different car. I see that as the top of the tin-top cars.
"For me that's the best of its calibre, and that's intimidating because I don't know it. And again I've watched it for so many years. I was nervous, I guess, because it's a big deal.
"I knew I'd like it. I was just more nervous that I wouldn't be good at it. I'm not saying I was, but I was scared that I'd be scared."
Ricciardo did the laps alongside the car's regular driver Rick Kelly. The most amusing thing about the on-board footage, apart from Ricciardo's infectious non-stop grin, is watching Kelly's foot slam an imaginary passenger-side brake pedal in certain brake zones.
He needn't have worried of course, later telling Speedcafe that the former Red Bull ace was like "a robot" behind the wheel.
“Watching Dan in the Supercar, there’s no doubt that he could get the hang of this and race it successfully in a very short amount of time,” Kelly said.
“We’ve seen so many international drivers come over and try and drive a Supercar after very successful careers in other forms of motorsport and not do so well at it, but from my point of view, watching him in that, he would get hold of it and throw it up the front very, very quickly.
"It was very impressive to sit next to Dan in a Supercar and watch how he reacts to the car moving around and just watch his inputs. The car starts to slide a little bit and he was reacting to it well and truly before I would even think about it, and so he’s an absolute machine and almost like a robot inside the car, and from my point of view, that was really great to witness.
“Every single lap, he would just step it up a little bit in the braking and everything, to the point where I think he was very much on the limit of the car after five or six laps. Everyone knows just how difficult to drive a Supercar is, so that’s an absolute credit to him.”
The Supercars Championship will top the Formula 1 support card this weekend, with their own Beaurepairs Melbourne 400 event in the background. They will be televised on Sky Sports this weekend, why Spark's new live sports app will provide live extended Formula 1 coverage and Duke will air the race itself live on free-to-air TV.