To promote next year's planned Formula One race around the streets of Weehawken, N.J., Red Bull Racing brought its demonstration car -- the same ride that Sebastian Vettel won last year's F1 championship in -- to do a short but quick drive around Liberty Park and the Lincoln Tunnel. Of course it began with the race engineers programming the 850-hp V-8 to play "The Star-Spangled Banner," turning the car into the world's most expensive music box.
Between the F1 race in New Jersey and this November's F1 season-ending run at the new Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, Texas, Formula 1 hopes to finally gain traction among American fans, who rarely watch open-wheel races outside of the Indianapolis 500. It couldn't be more different than America's most popular motorsport, NASCAR; instead of driver personalities and wheel-to-wheel racing of spec cars around ovals, F1 races focus on the race technology and strategy as much as the drivers. That's F1's other great challenge on these shores: It's been five years since an American -- Scott Speed -- raced in F1, and the last U.S. driver to win the championship was Mario Andretti in 1978.
Which is why this Red Bull video postcard highlights the car far more than ex-racer David Coulthard. Fine by me; there's no need to explain why you should run an F1 car through the Lincoln Tunnel at 190 mph or do donuts in front of the Statue of Liberty. If someone asks, the proper reply is, as always, "because racecar."