Last October, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen joined former F1 driver turned IndyCar racer Takuma Sato for a go behind the wheel of the classic RA272 Honda F1 car.
Honda’s Tochigi Proving Ground was the setting for the blast around the track inside the car that American Richie Ginther drove to victory at the 1965 Mexican GP — which was the first Grand Prix victory for a Japanese team, car or engine. The two drivers sampled the 1.5 liter V12-powered RA272 first to the delight of the assembled Honda employees watching around the track.
“It was very cool to get to experience this car. I think the oldest race car I’ve driven before today was from about 2008,” related Verstappen. “The pure emotion from the engine and the car itself was incredible. I didn’t even fit properly in the car!”
Verstappen went on to run some laps in Red Bull’s 2011 RB7 for the sake of comparison, noting, “The main difference in the RB7 was that I had seatbelts! In the other one I didn’t, so it felt a bit odd. With the RA272 I had to shift gears with a foot clutch, which I haven’t done in quite some time.”
Sato added: “This is a really special moment for any race car driver. There’s such a nostalgic feeling with it. The car is obviously very different to modern F1 and race cars and Max has just experienced how tricky it is to make it run smoothly.”