For more than five years, Red Bull Racing Team has been building some of the most competitive, high-performance cars in NASCAR, and we’ve taken that love of moving parts and pieces to the street.
Enter Corey Timblin and the Street Legal Show Car.
With headlights, wipers, treaded tires and everything else added to meet all requirements for everyday driving, Timblin’s the captain of a car that goes from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and covers a quarter mile in 11.7. But it’s not about the muscle, it’s about the experience. And anyone that’s sat shotgun with Timblin knows the experience is unforgettable.
Red Bull Racing Team sat down with Timblin, who talked about everything from the car to the cops — with a little Lindsey Vonn scattered in between.
Q: What’s your role with the RBRT Show Car program?
CT: I’ve worked with RBRT for four years, driving the Show Car trailer from event to event, keeping the car maintained and driving the Show Car with Red Bull athletes, celebrities and VIPs.
Q: What are the highs and the lows of traveling with the Show Car program?
CT: The best part of the job is meeting new people across the country, and the fact that you’re getting paid to travel and experience all of the things that are out there away from your hometown. The worst part is driving 8-10 hours a day to get to some of the events. Another thing that can be pretty unbearable is when it’s a really hot day and the car gets to 120 degrees and you’re sitting in there for hours.
Q: What features or specs make our street-legal Show Car unique?
CT: The coolest feature of our car, besides the fact that it’s street legal, is that we’re the only NASCAR show car that can run on the streets and also has a race-ready engine inside the car. We have a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) race engine that’s pushing out over 800 horsepower. We also have a windshield wiper motor that we had to put in for inspection purposes, although we never run our car in the rain because of the type of tires we have to use. We have to run DOT tires that have tread because slicks aren’t approved for highway use. Then we have taillights, a license plate and a second seat in the passenger side to give rides.
One unique aspect of the program overall is that you don’t see the drivers of other teams or sponsors driving their show cars, whereas our Red Bull drivers do drive the Show Car a couple times a year for special events. That’s a really cool surprise for the fans.
Q: Name some Red Bull athletes that have taken a ride.
CT: Some of the coolest athletes that I’ve had in the car have been Reggie Bush, Lindsey Vonn, Rajon Rondo, Thierry Henry, Lexi Thompson and Ryan Sheckler.
Q: What were your favorite events that you did with some of these athletes?
CT: The first time we picked up NFL player Reggie Bush we actually surprised him at the Dallas airport. We had his limo pull off a few minutes away from the airport, and had the race car pull up instead. Reggie told us later on that he thought he was getting abducted! When he saw the race car there he just started laughing. We ended up serving as his “taxi” service to the hotel he was staying in. The problem was that once we got to the hotel, he wasn’t done — he wanted to go drive around and play in the car some more.
We also delivered Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn and the game ball to the grand opening of the Red Bull Arena for the MLS New York Red Bulls game. Lindsey was in the passenger seat and I took her out into the middle of the field with the game ball on this brand new field. It was really cool to get the chance to meet an Olympic gold medalist and someone who had as much personality as she did — she was really bubbly and happy go lucky, which was awesome.
Another time we picked up Rajon Rondo — a complete surprise to him — and took him to downtown Boston to the TD Banknorth Garden for the first game of the NBA Playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. When people downtown saw the car, then also realized it was Rajon Rondo in it, the energy was just crazy. The city’s passion for their basketball team was amazing. Also, being able to drive a race car into the players’ parking lot was definitely a perk.
When MLS player Thierry Henry signed on with the New York Red Bulls, Red Bull wanted to give him a true welcome into the Red Bull world. We picked Theirry up in New York City and took him on quite a ride before dropping him off at the “Jimmy Fallon Show.” We had a great conversation while we were driving and he had a lot of questions about the race car.
I didn’t think he’d be that interested in NASCAR since he was more of an international sports figure, but he got in the car and was blown away.
He couldn’t believe how much power the car had and he started rattling off questions right and left. At the end of our ride, he was pumped up and wanted to get on an actual race track in the car.
Another event at the top of my list was when we did the New York City pit stop. Brian Vickers actually drove the car for the event, so I was more of a spectator, but just being a part of that event was awesome. The car did a pit stop in the middle of Times Square and it was completely unexpected by the city — no one knew what we were about to pull off. It was cool that the RBRT pit crew got to be a part of that event, too, so that more than just the driver could take part in the fun.
Q: Who was your favorite Red Bull athlete?
CT: I’d say Lindsey Vonn. She seemed very genuine, had a lot of fun and had a positive energy about her that just rubs off on you. To spend time with someone that’s as successful as she is — the best of the best — and who kept a smile on her face the whole day was just memorable.
Q: Who’d you like to get in the car, but haven’t had the chance to yet?
CT: Well if we’re going to shoot for the stars, then I’d like to get the President of the United States in the car. Or if we couldn’t work that one out, then one of my favorite all time athletes is former NBA player Clyde Drexler. I’ve been a fan of his for such a long time and grew up watching him play basketball. Then I’d say my mom, but I actually did take her for a little spin so I guess that doesn’t count anymore.
Q: Any other events you’ve done in the car that were really memorable?
CT: Definitely. One of my favorite events was in Kansas City when we gave a ride to a middle school boy with Muscular Dystrophy. The Red Bull marketing manager in Kansas City had a relationship with their local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, so he was able to arrange to make one of the boys biggest dreams come true — to be in a race car. The boy was a huge NASCAR fan — his whole bedroom was decked out in a NASCAR theme. We picked him up at his house, took him to his middle school and did some doughnuts in the school parking lot so he could impress all of his friends and peers. That event will always stick out for me because we got to do something for a kid that he’ll never forget.
Q: Any run-ins with the law?
CT: Did I put that as one of my favorite parts of the job (sarcasm)? The craziest thing ever to happen was in California. We had been doing events in California for about a week, and in that week, we’d been pulled over a lot. No big deal … because we are street legal so we were allowed to be on the roads. The police would pull us over, ask us what we were doing, check our paperwork and away we’d go. However, on this particular day, there was a police officer who wasn’t a fan of what we were doing. We were giving a ride to a VIP and we were on mall property, which apparently wasn’t allowed. The mall called the police on us and we got pulled over.
The officer that approached the Show Car was anything but calm — screaming and yelling is an understatement.
During that time, one of the people I was working with approached the scene and was immediately handcuffed. We also got issued our first and only ticket ever. We ended up sorting everything out with the help of lawyers, but that was one stressful day.
Another time we were in Los Angeles doing some promos for the Red Bull Soapbox Derby and we were driving around downtown L.A. I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop, who also must have called for backup. The next thing I know, I’m getting swarmed and cornered by six different police cars coming at me from all directions. They were even driving the wrong way down streets to get to me. They shut us down for the day, so that was disappointing, but it could have ended much worse.
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