Tony Stewart And Lewis Hamilton To Switch Rides In Event
There have been a few occasions in which a Formula One driver has made the switch to NASCAR, such as Juan Pablo Montoya, but a stock car racer heading to an open-wheel machine is a rare occurrence.
Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart will be able to get a taste of life on the other side in a staged event, just in case the two decide to make the move some time in the future, although those chances are slimmer than Lewis driving for HRT next year.
The 2008 Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton will drive Tony Stewart’s Chevrolet stock car, while Stewart will take over the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes.
Tony Stewart won the NASCAR championship on two occasions, once in 2002 and again in 2005. Each time, Stewart drove for Joe Gibbs Racing, the team in which he left in 2009 to run his own team.
NASCAR's Stewart has a history of open-wheel racing, as he drove in Indy from 1996 to 2001. During his time in the sport, he competed in 26 races and won three of them. Stewart managed to do the “double”, meaning that he competed in the Indianapolis 500 and then NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte. In 2001, he managed to finish sixth in Indy and third in the latter.
Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, has little stock car experience. His career started in karting. When he was young, Hamilton expressed interest in racing for McLaren, stating to then team principal Ron Dennis, "I want to race for you one day ... I want to race for McLaren."
Less than three years later, McLaren signed Lewis Hamilton to their young drivers’ support program and following British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries, and GP2 championship, Hamilton got to drive the McLaren. Hamilton is often labeled as the first black driver in Formula One.
Lewis Hamilton has competed in 71 races, winning 14 of them and finishing on the podium 36 times. His last win came at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The event that is taking place is similar to the 2003 event, in which Jeff Gordon swapped places with, then F1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya. The event will take place at Watkins Glen in New York, but no date has been given.
The organizers of the event have stated that both vehicles will be race-ready versions of the McLaren and the Chevrolet.