Last week McLaren gave seat time to IndyCar race winner Pato O’Ward and 2022 Le Mans 24 Hour winner Ryo Hirakawa at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as part of its Testing Of Previous Cars program, but while the team was out in Spain, team principal Zak Brown also hit the track.
Separate from the team’s official driver development activities, Brown swapped the pit wall for the pit lane, and got behind the wheel of an ex-Daniel Ricciardo MCL35M for a handful of laps.
The car that took Ricciardo to victory in the 2021 Italian Grand Prix – McLaren’s most recent F1 race win, and Brown’s first at the helm of the team – was central to a bet between the pair, with Ricciardo getting a run out in an ex-Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Monte Carlo owned by Brown, and Brown getting a Monza-themed tattoo in return as a result of the win.
Brown appears to have since taken personal ownership of the car, and it has recently undergone a full rebuild, with him describing his recent outing in it as a “quick shakedown”.
With Brown taking over stewardship of the car, it joins an extensive collection of race winning F1 machines in his personal collection, including Ayrton Senna’s 1991 Monaco Grand Prix-winning MP4/6, Mika Hakkinen’s British Grand Prix-winning MP4-16, and Lewis Hamilton’s 2012 MP4-27 that won the Italian and United States Grands Prix.
Aside from McLarens, Brown owns several Williams, including Alan Jones’ Williams FW07B which he’s raced at Laguna Seca and Long Beach in recent years, and Jody Scheckter’s 1977 Argentine Grand Prix-winning Wolf WR1, the only car besides the Brawn BGP001 to win on its debut.
The Mercedes W04 with which Lewis Hamilton won his first race for Mercedes in Hungary in 2013 was also previously in Brown’s collection, having been acquired before he took his is role at McLaren. The car, which is one of the few modern Mercedes F1 cars outside the team’s ownership, will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s on November 17 ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, where the auction house anticipates it fetching between $10-15 million.