BWT Alpine F1 Team stars Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon have sampled the Castrol Racing Supercar at Calder Park Raceway's Thunderdome.
Ahead of the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, the pair was joined by Formula 2 contender and BWT Alpine F1 Team test driver Jack Doohan, driving the new Castrol Gen3 Supercar regularly raced by Thomas Randle in the Repco Supercars Championship.
It was a historic day at the famous suburban Melbourne circuit today, not only for the fact that the Castrol car was driven by the F1 drivers, but the Supercar also completed laps of the fearsome Thunderdome oval – a layout that has not seen racing proper in close to 25 years.
Grand Prix race winners Gasly and Ocon were joined by Australian Jack Doohan in completing a number of laps each of the Calder Park Thunderdome layout – enough to get a taste of the raw V8 power ahead of stepping into their F1 cars at the Albert Park circuit this weekend.
Former Australian Rally Champion and new Castrol ambassador Molly Taylor was also on hand, sampling the Supercar on the Thunderdome.
The closed-to-public event was part of a Castrol filming day, which had the drivers compete in some uniquely 'Australian' challenges in the build up to the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
One of the most popular drivers on the Formula 1 grid, Gasly moved to the BWT Alpine F1 Team this season following eight seasons in the Red Bull program, culminating in his maiden Grand Prix victory with Alpha Tauri in Italy during the 2020 season.
Ocon is now a three-year veteran at the BWT Alpine F1 team and became a Grand Prix winner with the squad in dramatic circumstances at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Doohan, son of five-time world motorcycle champion Mick, is now carving his own name in motorsport. Driving for Invicta Virtuosi Racing for a second season in FIA Formula 2, Doohan enters his home round sixth in the standings after a breakout 2022 where he scored three victories.
While Doohan grew up on the Gold Coast, this weekend marks Doohan’s first-ever motor race on home soil.
Randle will contest four races at Round 2 of the Repco Supercars Championship as support to the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix this weekend in the Castrol Racing Supercar.
The Formula 1 cars will be on track for the first time on Friday ahead of Sunday afternoon’s race.
#10 BWT Alpine F1 Team
“That was insane! A really amazing experience the first time driving this beast,” said Gasley. “It was actually my first time driving on an oval, it was incredible. Just too short – when I came back to stop here, I wanted to go for another 10 laps! It was a very impressive car, much different to what I’m used to driving so I definitely had a lot of fun.
#31 BWT Alpine F1 Team
DRIVING CASTROL SUPERCARS
“It definitely felt great, it’s cool to have that experience as the car is racing tomorrow also, so we had a big responsibility. I love to try and experience new categories and that definitely was a lot of fun,” said Ocon. “It accelerates very fast, we were on an oval and it was a bit wet today, so we were on the wet tyres, but it definitely is a proper supercar. I did race closed racing cockpits before but that was definitely the one of the top ones I have tested. I drive Bathurst a lot on the simulator and it is something else.
#14 Invicta Virtuosi Racing
DRIVING SUPERCAR ON THUNDERDOME
“It was very cool. It was surreal to come here and see this place for the first time, the banking is amazing,” said Doohan. It was unbelievable, a lot of power as well. I’d never driven the car before and for it to be in these conditions; slippery, greasy, a little bit wet and also on a track like this it was very cool.”