If there’s one team on the grid guaranteed to be inventive and interesting with its media stunts, you can count on Red Bull Racing.
The team’s star driver, Daniel Ricciardo, returned to his Sicilian roots with a trip to the Italian isle, but rather than dull photo opportunities of him looking at frescos, gobbling down pasta or launching a new Red Bull chinotto blend (wouldn’t that be horrible!), they let him go on a truly incredible assignment.
Sicily – which is where Ricciardo’s father’s side of the family originates – used to be the home of a road race known as the Targa Florio, which was in its latter years an 11-lap race on a 72-kilometre (45-mile!) long street circuit. It held the honour of the world’s oldest sports car race with the inaugural event taking place in 1906, and it held World Championship status between 1955 and 1973.
It held national sports car championship status until safety concerns saw the event killed off after 1977, but it has subsequently returned as a round of the Italian Rally Championship.
The challenge and twisting nature of the circuit meant that average lap speeds never exceeded 80mph, but the outright Targa Florio lap record is held by none other than Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who clocked a 33m41s (128.253 km/h, or 79.693 mph) in an epic charge in his in his 1972 Alfa Romeo 33TT3 where he made up over two minutes on Arturo Merzario’s Ferrari 312PB after co-driver Nanni Galli crashed just before the final driver change.
It was this Alfa Romeo which was entrusted to Ricciardo for a special media opportunity, and judging by the outstanding photo quality – not to mention Ricciardo’s giant grin! – it was a truly spectacular event.
The full story can be read in Red Bull’s Red Bulletin e-magazine.
Images via Red Bull Media