Ric­cia­rdo do­nates F1 race car

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - FRONT PAGE -

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, is 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.

Ric­cia­rdo un­veiled a plaque to open the mu­seum ex­ten­sion and cel­e­brated with Mr McGowan, cu­ra­tor John McLean, mu­seum chair­man Kelvin Fer­ris and other dig­ni­taries via ‘shoeys’ – drink­ing cham­pagne from shoes, al­though the mu­seum pro­vided small glass boots for the oc­ca­sion.

Mr Fer­ris said it took nearly a year to or­gan­ise Ric­cia­rdo’s at­ten­dance and keep­ing it quiet was the hard­est part.

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 five-year project, was funded by a Lot­teryWest grant and pri­vate and cor­po­rate donors.

Daniel Ric­cia­rdo’s par­ents, Joe and Grace, were qui­etly proud of their son and will at­tend the Malaysian Grand Prix on Oc­to­ber 1.

What of the fu­ture? Would you be driv­ing a For­mula E (elec­tric) car five years hence, Ric­cia­rdo was asked.

“Hope­fully not,” he said.

“They’re get­ting re­ally fast, but I’m a F1 driver and I think F1 will still have a good few years left.”

Daniel Ric­cia­rdo was there in per­son to present his car to the mo­tor mu­seum.

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