Ricciardo reveals Dale Earnhardt Sr tribute helmet for US GP weekend
McLaren driver Ricciardo looked up to Earnhardt when he was a kid, adopting the famous #3 as his own racing number when he made it to Formula 1.
Ricciardo was promised by McLaren boss Zak Brown that he could drive Earnhardt’s 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo from his private collection when he scored his first podium for the team.
By winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last month, Ricciardo won the bet, leading to demo runs in the NASCAR stock car being scheduled for this weekend in Austin.
“I’m very happy to be back,” Ricciardo said on Thursday. “It’s been 24 long and sad months without Austin in my life. It’s a good time, and I do get to drive the Earnhardt car this weekend. Zak got it out from Europe to bring it here. There’s been a good effort put into that, so I’m very excited.
Adding to the Earnhardt theme for the weekend, Ricciardo’s Dale Sr tribute helmet design was revealed on Friday ahead of opening practice at the Circuit of the Americas at Austin, Texas.
The design retains the black base made famous by Earnhardt and features a similar sponsor layout, as well as Ricciardo’s signature and number on the front of the helmet.
Ricciardo is one of a number of drivers taking advantage of the Austin race weekend to use a special helmet design, with most opting for an American theme.
McLaren teammate Lando Norris will race with a stars and stripes design, incorporating the retro McLaren ‘M’ logo the team is using this weekend.
Fellow Briton George Russell kept his helmet Texas-themed with a sheriff badge design on a wood-coloured background.
2019 United States Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas paid tribute to all things Austin with a street art design by his girlfriend, Tiffany Cromwell.
Among the other drivers racing with one-off helmets are Haas’s Nikita Mazepin, who incorporated rattlesnakes, a horseshoe and cowboy hats into his design, and Yuki Tsunoda, who was due to debut an autumnal helmet in Japan before the race was cancelled.