Aston Martin took a dramatic class victory in the dying moments of this year’s Le Mans 24 hours, but that was just a warm up for the biggest event of the summer: the Red Bull Soapbox Race at Alexandra Palace in London.
The hugely popular events require teams to not only have to build a gravity-powered vehicle which can get down the hill as quickly as possible, but also have to show creative design and have a sense of theatre. All three elements are combined at the end of the day to decide an overall winner.
It’s mostly just an excuse for a wacky day of fun, but that doesn’t mean teams don’t take it seriously – especially for a proper professional race team like Aston Martin.
The crew designed and built this amazing scaled-down version of its GTE-Pro car and got drivers Jonny Adam and Darren Turner to help put on a show. Neither of them piloted the vehicle, though – in fact Turner said “there’s no way in the world I would get into one”!
Driving honours were left to engineer Alex Summers, who careered down the hill and over the various bumps and jumps in what Aston Martin say is the most efficient car it’s ever built – after all, it uses no fuel!
Check out the violence of the course in this onboard video from the Aston:
Apart from losing the rear wing at the water splash, the car held together (not always a given in the Red Bull Soapbox Race!) and set a decent time. The team also got good showmanship scores from the judges for the pre-run ‘pit stop’ performance, helping the “24 Seconds of Ally Pally” team to finish an impressive second overall from an entry of more than 60 teams.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen proper motorsport teams have a go at the Red Bull Soapbox Race. Sebastian Vettel once dressed up as Mario for a run, whilst Red Bull itself created a car for Christian Horner to pilot down. Madness!