On any given Sunday, race automobile drivers world wide pilot probably the most exhilarating cars on the planet. From the primary observe session Friday morning to the waving of the checkered flag late Sunday afternoon, each flip of the steering wheel or press of the fuel pedal dumps one other dose of adrenaline into their bloodstream.
For the remainder of the week, although, they nonetheless have driving to do. And whereas the NASCAR Subsequent Gen automobile may be excellent for braving the banking of Daytona, and a Dallara-chassis IndyCar might need been bred for the Brickyard in Indianapolis, the reality is that neither is superb for dropping off youngsters at soccer observe or choosing up groceries.
So, when race automobile drivers are away from racetracks, what do they drive?
To reply that query, ESPN contacted each driver with a full-time journey within the NASCAR Cup Collection and IndyCar, granting them anonymity to reply in truth: What’s your day by day driver? Greater than half of these fields supplied solutions, only one driver declined to take part, and the responses — from drivers who come from all around the world — mirrored the distinctiveness of the American auto market.
Earlier than we get into the drivers’ weekday rides, although, we must always discuss who’s supplying them. Automakers put money into motorsport, primarily, as a advertising and marketing train, and with drivers showing because the face of that funding, manufacturers are incentivized to increase that relationship past the racetrack. They usually do, by giving drivers free autos for private use.
There are 4 producers that assist these sequence in a big manner: Chevrolet, Ford, Honda and Toyota. Chevy is the one provider concerned in each NASCAR and IndyCar, with Ford and Toyota becoming a member of them in inventory vehicles and Honda the rival engine provider within the U.S. open-wheel sequence.
Of the 61 full-time drivers approached, Chevy provides 28 of them (46%), Honda has 15 (24%), Ford has 12 (20%) and Toyota has six (10%). Of our respondents, 61% drove for Chevy, 29% raced for Ford, 6% have been Toyota drivers and one other 3% represented Honda.
Lower than 10% of respondents admitted to daily-driving a automobile that had no direct relation to the producer they have been employed by. So we anticipated to see a lot of Chevrolets in our knowledge, and we did.
No automobile was extra well-liked amongst drivers than the Chevy Tahoe, a full-size SUV chosen by greater than 25% of our respondents. Felix Rosenqvist, a Sweden-born IndyCar driver for Chevrolet-supplied Arrow McLaren, referred to as it “the most effective automobile you may have dwelling in Indiana,” the place McLaren’s IndyCar operations are primarily based.
“It is simply the liberty of your area,” he advised ESPN forward of Sunday’s IndyCar race on the streets of Toronto. “When you spend a whole lot of time on the highway — which I believe in the event you would take the common time you spend on the highway within the U.S. in comparison with Sweden, it will most likely be 3 times, 4 instances extra — and being in that atmosphere, you simply need it to really feel good. You have got room, you may chill out, you will have good audio system, you will have good consolation, you are sitting up excessive, it isn’t noisy — all these issues.”
What Rosenqvist desires in his day by day driver are the identical issues the common American automobile purchaser desires, too: area, consolation, visibility from a raised seating place. In 2022, the full-size pickup vehicles from Ford (the F-150) and Chevy (the Silverado) have been the 2 bestselling nameplates within the nation, accounting for practically 8.5% of all new autos offered final 12 months, and the structure of the Silverado is what underpins the Tahoe.
Unsurprisingly, then, the F-150 was the subsequent most-popular response amongst our drivers, accounting for 16% of responses. The truth is, 77% of our drivers report driving full-size pickups or SUVs: 25% selected the Tahoe, 16% the F-150, 12% the Silverado and 6% the Chevy Suburban — an extended-length Tahoe.
“It is positively form of loopy whenever you come over right here, you see the scale of the vehicles,” Rosenqvist stated. “Being a European, the primary time you come to the States, you are like, ‘Man, all of the autos listed below are a lot larger.'”
These being race automobile drivers, we did discover one subset of respondents who sought out a few of that adrenaline they discover on the racetrack of their day by day drivers, and that was in F-150 homeowners. Ford gives a variant of the F-150 referred to as the Raptor, a 450-horsepower monster designed to be as snug on the desert sands of Baja as it’s within the car parking zone of your native ironmongery store, and 10% of respondents enthusiastically relayed that they drove one day by day — together with NASCAR Cup Collection common Chase Briscoe, who drives for Ford-supplied Stewart-Haas Racing.
“Rising up, for no matter purpose, my dream automobile was all the time a Raptor,” Briscoe advised ESPN. “So once I obtained signed by Ford and began doing the NASCAR factor, I keep in mind they have been like, ‘All proper, so what would you like on your loaner automobile?’ And I used to be like, ‘Effectively, what can I choose?’ They usually’re like, ‘Something.’ Clearly you may’t choose a [$500,000] Ford GT or one thing, however I used to be like, ‘Can I choose a Raptor?” They usually’re like, ‘Yeah, completely. If that is what you need.’ So I’ve