Valentino Rossi indulged in his passion for four-wheeled motorsport in America yesterday when the Italian tested Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Toyota Camry at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Fresh from a disappointing sixth place in the inaugural Circuit of the Americas MotoGP race in Texas, Rossi got behind the wheel of the 650bhp NASCAR to put in a series of fast laps around the iconic oval.
Rossi, who has tested Ferrari’s F1 car and competed in world rally events, said: “It was so cool to understand the feeling. I have a lot of friends from Europe and Italy who follow NASCAR.
It looks like it’s a completely different type of racing than what we do in Europe and I expected something more like this – exciting, high speed and a great feeling in the corner. In the bank you have a lot of grip, so you are glued on the racetrack. It was great, I enjoyed it a lot. I love driving the race car, and I always have, so it was exciting to drive a NASCAR.
At the beginning it was a bit strange because it’s difficult to go straight. But after some laps, I had a lot of confidence and I was able to go faster and faster and faster. I must say I got along very well with Kyle. He’s a good guy. I like him and he gave me a lot of important advice."
Busch, who has won 55 NASCAR races, said he was impressed with Rossi’s stint at the wheel of his Toyota Camry.
He said: “I thought he did pretty good. He started out a little slow, which is fine, but every lap he picked it up a lot. He got to where he was running some competitive lap speeds – times that would put him in the top 15 in Nationwide Series practice. That’s pretty good for a guy in his first start, who is just coming over and getting used to things and someone that is used to driving on two wheels."