Ricciardo drives Kelly's Supercar

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 13/03/2019
  • By Mitchell Adam

Renault Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has sampled Rick Kelly's Castrol Nissan Supercar, on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo drove the Kelly Racing Altima at Calder Park on Wednesday morning in a pre-event media activity, with 2006 champion Kelly in the passenger seat.

The Australian is preparing for his home grand prix and first with Renault, after splitting with Red Bull at the end of 2018.

Classing the outing as "pretty cool", Ricciardo nominated the sound of the Supercar's V8 engine as a highlight.

"I didn't have ear plugs, I probably should have worn ear plugs," he said.

"But yeah, the upshift and pulling a [gear]stick feels good.

"A paddle-[shift] is easy, it's made my life easy as a racecar driver because I can't heel-and-toe.

"But all that sort of stuff. The vibrations, it all just feels raw.

"The downshifting and banging it through and hearing it backfire. It was awesome."

Kelly Racing and Renault F1 share oil giant Castrol as backers, while Nissan and Renault also sit within the same automotive alliance.

It's not strictly Ricciardo's first taste of a Supercar, the seven-time F1 race winner having sampled Red Bull's Sandman ride car at Sandown in 2016

That car started its life as a racing Triple Eight Commodore in 2013 in Jamie Whincup's hands.

"That was, I guess, the closest thing I've had to driving a V8," Ricciardo said of the Sandman.

"But that didn't really want to drive in a straight line.

"That actually scared me. Probably because of that I was like 'If that's how they really are...' But this felt more race-ready.

"I felt like I could have a bit of a go in this today, whereas the Sandman was a couple of laps of filming. I didn't get enough time to get a real feel of it.

"This was... I don't know, it was cool. They're fast as well. It's got some ponies.

"Coming onto the drag strip here where it was a bit slippery, that was my favourite part.

"It would always snap out a bit. That was fun."

Kelly sits 19th in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship points entering the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400, after a tough season opener in Adelaide.

Practice for Supercars starts at 12:50pm on Thursday at Albert Park, with the Larry Perkins Trophy to be decided over four races from Friday evening.

Ricciardo and his F1 rivals take to the track for the first time on Friday.

"I'll get in the F1 car on Friday and be like 'this feels weird'," he joked.

"It'll be like I'm laying down in it. But you adapt quickly. I'll do an install lap and I'll be like 'right this feels normal'.

"But it was cool just to loosen the cobwebs. There is so much media this week, so to do something active to keep me firing was really cool.'

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