Take two F1 drivers, put them in two mega trucks, set them loose on the spectacular Erzberg circuit and you have an ‘Unserious Race Series’ of the highest order. In the run-up to the Formula 1 Rolex Großer Preis von Österreich 2023, Max Verstappen and Yuki Tsunoda went head-to-head in what is arguably the world’s ‘most unserious racing championship’.
Normally, 500 hp would elicit a weary smile from world champion Max Verstappen and AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda. But when all that horsepower is invested in a couple of three-metre-high, four-metre-wide and five-metre-long mega trucks, even racers as formidable as these two are going to get a queasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs. However, as soon as the ignition keys were turned, minds were concentrated and only one thing counted – winning!
The gigantic vehicles, which weighed several tons, got down to business on a course with several imaginatively named sections such as ‘Car Yard’, ‘Swimming Pool’ and ‘Big Drift’. Verstappen took pole position in 0:55,07 seconds. But then came a big surprise at the “Austrian Mega Trucks Grand Prix” as Tsunoda overtook Verstappen on the first corner and resolutely defended the lead through to the chequered flag.
The Yukinator benefited from small misfires at supermax. “Maybe, because I gave his engine a sip of water,” said Tsunoda with a wry smile. Verstappen tried to play down the defeat: “I’ve never really been off-road before; it was a whole new experience. You’re bobbing up and down so much that you don’t even see where you’re going. But obviously it was a lot of fun.”
Undeterred by this minor setback, the world championship leader travels to Spielberg feeling upbeat: “We have already had several wins on our home track, which means a lot to us. The fans, the multiple grandstands and the atmosphere at the Red Bull Ring are just fabulous.” Tens of thousands of motorsport fans from all over the world will attend the Austrian GP. To make sure that your journey to the Red Bull Ring is as pleasant as possible, it is advisable to take the train, bus or bike, or to arrive in your own car as early as possible.