Arrow McLaren driver in the IndyCar series, Pato O’Ward has been given an immensely special opportunity to get behind the wheel of Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 championship winning MP4/23 Formula 1 car over the weekend.
O’Ward was given the nod by the McLaren factory to drive the MP4/23 at the most recent Velocity International vintage car show hosted at the Sonoma Raceway in California, treating onlookers to a spectacular soundtrack in the process.It came was McLaren brought no less than eleven open-wheel racers to the event to celebrate its 60th anniversary which also saw McLaren’s lead F1 driver, Lando Norris, get behind the wheel of Alain Prost’s MP4/2 that finished the 1984 season half a point behind the legendary Niki Lauda.
Other notable attendees of the McLaren stand include racers like the M7C-1, M8D-3, M23-5, M26-2, MP4/2A-1, MP4/2B-3, MP4/6-10, MP4/14A-04 and Hamilton’s MP4/23A-05.
At the conclusion of the 2008 F1 season, Lewis Hamilton took out the driver’s championship in the final race of the season at Brazil’s Interlagos Circuit, overtaking Timo Glock to secure the title over home-town hero, Felipe Massa – by just a single point.
McLaren took out second place in the constructor’s title that year, trailing Ferrari by 21 points.
The MP4-23A-05 comes powered by a Mercedes-sourced ‘FO 108V’ 2.4-litre naturally aspirated V8 pushing out 596kW of power to the rear wheels in a package that weighed just 605kg in total.
“I think if we came back tomorrow, we’d shatter the track record no issue with this car,” O’Ward says in the clip. “It’s just so capable – it’s so awesome,” he added.
McLaren’s CEO of Racing, Zak Browne said that its exhibition was designed to celebrate “our rich heritage and an invitation to experience the intersection of speed and history up close.”
“We’re excited to be part of it this year, celebrating our 60 years as a racing team.”