Smiling Dan launches F1 loan
THE WA Motor Museum last night got its most valuable vehicle: the 2014 Red Bull Racing F1 car in which Daniel Ricciardo won his first grand prix – and there to present the car and open the museum’s new extension, was the man himself.
Duncraig-born and raised Ricciardo, widely known as the Honey Badger because of his generous smile and a picture of the animal on the back of his helmet, was home for a few days between the grands prix of Singapore and Malaysia and managed to find time to not only open the $2 million extension, but to also provide it with his GP-winning car.
The car, worth about $2 million, in which he won his first GP in Montreal on June 8, 2014, is on permanent loan to the museum, where it will be a major drawcard.
The 27-year-old said he was honoured to open the new 2000sq m extension, which doubled the museum’s original capacity.
“I first came here as a young kid and I’m super-honoured to see my first GP-winning car on display here,” he said.
Premier Mark McGowan said it was correct to describe Ricciardo as the “most famous West Australian in the entire world in the modern era” – echoing Singapore podium compere Eddie Irvine’s introduction of Ricciardo as ‘the pride of Australia’ – and then mentioned the ripper media conference after the Singapore Grand Prix.
“I express myself verbally,” he said.
“(Ricciardo) expresses himself in other ways”, referring to the laughing Honey Badger’s melodic tenor flatulence which left Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas with tears in his eyes and unable to speak as he stifled his mirth.
The museum now houses 125 vintage and classic cars, 75 motorbikes, a $1.2 million model car collection and has more than 13,000 motoring publications and workshop manuals and an education facility for school and community groups.
Thousands of historic photographs line the walls.
The extension, a fiveyear project, was funded by a LotteryWest grant and private and corporate donors.
Daniel Ricciardo was there in person to present his car to the motor museum.