Actor Tom Cruise got his first taste of Formula 1 machinery in a secret test that took place with Red Bull in California last week.
In a behind-closed-doors session on Aug. 15 at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, north of Los Angeles, Cruise was given a day to learn all about the challenges of driving F1 machinery. The event was part of Red Bull Racing's recent promotional trip to the United States.
Being overseen by Red Bull Racing ambassador David Coulthard, who also logged benchmark laps in the car and helped Cruise compare data between their runs, Cruise was reported to have reached speeds of 181mph around the 2.5-mile track and, over the 24 laps he completed, improved his best time by 11 seconds from the start to the end of the day.
Speaking about the event, Coulthard 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. He thoroughly impressed me."
Cruise is a longtime motorsports fan and famously starred in the NASCAR movie Days of Thunder.