The NASCAR and Formula One worlds will collide in November. On Friday, seven-time Monster Energy Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson tweeted a video announcing he and two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso will be switching rides at a test session at Bahrain International Circuit on 26 November.
For both drivers, should they run laps in their original cars before swapping vehicles, it will likely be their final times in their respective rides. Johnson’s #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will no longer carry Lowe’s sponsorship after the 2018 season, while Alonso will not return to the McLaren F1 Team in 2019.
It is not the first time a NASCAR and F1 driver have been in each other’s shoes. In 2003, four-time NASCAR Cup champ Jeff Gordon piloted the Williams FW24 car of Juan Pablo Montoya and vice versa at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya would eventually migrate to NASCAR in 2006, enjoying a a nine-year Cup career. Eight years later, at Watkins Glen International, three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart drove Lewis Hamilton‘s McLaren MP4-23 and Hamilton was in Stewart’s #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
The session will take place a day after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a race that Johnson and his Hendrick team-mates plan to attend as their season ended the week prior. Unlike Stewart and Hamilton’s switch, Johnson and Alonso’s will reportedly be more expanded; Johnson intends to fly to London after the Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to train in McLaren’s F1 simulator.
The duo teased the swap in the weeks leading up to the announcement. In September, Alonso tweeted a video of the two interacting, with Alonso expressing particular interest in American racing. Although he has not made plans to compete in NASCAR, he has praised the Daytona 500‘s appeal.
On social media, fans and figures from both series expressed their excitement for the event. Johnson’s team-mate Alex Bowman amusingly tweeted, “Thanks for the invite guys”.