UPDATED w/VIDEO 08/25/11 9:30 PDT: Tom racing the Formula One car PLUS Tom executing an “impossible” 360 degree roll in a helicopter!
We were peddle-to-the-metal pumped and feelin’ the need for speed when we heard that Tom was invited to test-drive a Formula One car last week!
Tom took a break in his Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol post-production work to meet up with the team, 13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard, and the stunning 2011 F1 Formula One car at the Willow Springs racetrack in Rosamond, California.
F1 legend David Coulthard, also known as “DC,” who was awarded the MBE by the Queen in 2010, served as Tom’s instructor for the day. The duo were joined by a 12-person team who were flown in from their UK base to provide crew support.
Tom started his day by lapping the track with David in a passenger car to familiarize himself with the racing lines. In addition to one-on-one instruction from David about the intricacies of the high-performance vehicle, Tom also reviewed the car’s telemetry data with the support team in between circuits.
Suited up in race gear and looking for a brief moment like a reincarnation of his ‘Days of Thunder’ character, ‘Cole Trickle,’ Tom reached a top speed of 181 miles per hour as he drove the 850-horsepower Formula One car around the 2.5-mile track 24 times. (That was just four miles per hour under Formula One racing great David Coulthard’s top speed!)
After the seven-hour session, David said…
“Tom’s the real deal. I was surprised that he picked it up so quickly and is such an accomplished driver. His recall was incredible considering how complicated driving an F1 car is. He’s a guy who really pushes the envelope in real life. This day was not green screened. And he thoroughly impressed me.”
As the team here at TomCruise.com we know that Tom grew up with a love for racing…cars, airplanes, bikes, it was always something he wanted to do and according to a July 13, 1987 People magazine article, Tom made his debut as a professional driver in a Nissan 300ZX, borrowed from a driving school, to compete in the 300 kilometer Road Atlanta Kuppen-heimer Camel GT Challenge. His competition in the three-hour endurance race included his ‘The Color of Money’ co-star, Paul Newman.
On the lighter side of Tom’s love of everything auto racing, Tom and ‘Knight and Day’ co-star Cameron Diaz set track records racing an economy car, (If you can believe that!), on hit British car-lover show, ‘Top Gear.’