Thanks to the buzz centred around the McLaren F1 Team‘s team launch earlier this week, Daniel Ricciardo has really been in the spotlight in the racing world.
The Australian Formula 1 veteran will be starting the 2021 season with the newly-rejuvenated Woking-based outfit after an incredible 2020 where it clinched third place in the constructors’ championship in Abu Dhabi and there’s definitely a lot to get excited about! What could be more exciting though for Ricciardo is that he hasn’t ruled out potentially competing in two of the most prestigious races outside of Formula 1: the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.
As a previous winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, Ricciardo would be in with a shot at getting the coveted Triple Crown of motorsport. Whilst many (including F1 returnee Fernando Alonso) have tried to attain this lofty goal, only the legendary Graham Hill has managed to achieve it so far. It’s definitely motorsport’s biggest challenge and the daunting nature of it is something Ricciardo is well aware of.
“Basically that sounds great, but oval scares me a little, I want to be completely honest,” Ricciardo said to Speedweek when considering whether he could take on the mighty brickyard. “Indy would be cool, but maybe first with a test.
“I found Fernando’s performance impressive, and I imagined how I would do there. Maybe one day I’ll try.” He then, with more than a hint of his signature infectious grin, quipped that “I mean, you have to turn left four times per lap – how difficult can that be?“
Whilst he finds the idea of taking on an oval race somewhat scary, he is much more at home with the prospect of taking on the most famous endurance race in the world.
“Some of my colleagues have already tried it, and I’m attracted by the idea that you share a car with team-mates,” he said. “As a Grand Prix driver you don’t lay all your cards on the table, but at Le Mans you have to share all your secrets with your colleagues. I’d love that kind of collaboration. Competing in a 24-hour race would also push me to the limit physically and mentally.“
It’s not like he hasn’t tried to get into the Le Mans circus before, either. Back in 2015, Ricciardo held pre-emptive talks with current McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl back when he was running Porsche’s LMP1 team about competing in that year’s edition of the race. He couldn’t get approval to do the race from Red Bull Racing however and that drive instead went to his future Renault team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, who ended up becoming a Le Mans winner in the process.