JANUARY 13, 2002
Reitzle also tries Jaguar F1 car at Valencia
After proving that driving today's F1 racers is perhaps not as difficult as it looks, Niki Lauda pulled off a personal PR coup for the whole Jaguar formula one program by persuading Wolfgang Reitzle, the president of Ford's Premier Automotive Group to take a turn behind the wheel.
Reitzle, who flew back from the USA specially for the occasion, proved remarkably adept on his first outing in a single seater racing car of any kind, recording a maximum straight line speed just 1mph off Lauda's 178mph maximum.
"I've got the wrong job," said Reitzle to Lauda as he climbed from the cockpit of the Jaguar R2C. "I had no idea we had this sort of technology available in our business." Senior Ford VP Richard Parry-Jones was also scheduled to try the car, but had to cancel due to other commitments.
Earlier Lauda completed ten flying laps of the tight little track in a bid to learn more about the intricacies of today's high-tech F1 cars.