A Modern F1 Driver Will Take On Historic Icons In Upcoming TV Special "Lap of Legends"

A Modern F1 Driver Will Take On Historic Icons In Upcoming TV Special "Lap of Legends"

Image: Williams / Michelob ULTRA

If there’s one thing Formula 1 fans love, it’s comparing drivers of different eras to determine who’s better. Of course, in the sport’s 70-year history we’ve seen technology evolve and demands on drivers change, so it’s hard to make any legitimate comparisons. But what if we could directly compare two drivers of different eras at their prime by putting them on the same track at the same time? That’s exactly what an upcoming television event called “Lap of Legends” intends to do.

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Full disclosure: Michelob ULTRA invited me to the Las Vegas Grand Prix to check out previews for its upcoming documentary while also schmoozing with the Williams Racing team.

Essentially, “Lap of Legends’’ will be an hour-long special that will pit a handful of Williams Racing’s iconic drivers against one modern driver in a 16-lap race at the Silverstone Circuit.

In order to comfortably re-create the driving habits of icons like Mario Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button, Williams and Michelob used artificial intelligence to study thousands of hours of race footage and historical data. The goal was to create a totally virtual version of the driver in question. The virtual Villeneuve, for example, should exhibit the techniques and driving styles that made him a World Champion — but without any modern input from Villeneuve.

You can check out the trailer for the special below:

Lap of Legends | Michelob ULTRA

I know I’ve often wondered how a modern driver would stack up against some of the icons of the past, and that’s just what “Lap of Legends” proposes to do. We’ll be able to see how different eras required different driving techniques, then compare those styles against one another in order to see who comes out on top.

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“Lap of Legends” proposes an incredibly fascinating concept — one that I hope we’ll continue to see in the future. How cool would it be to see this idea expanded to feature racers from different teams taking on any of the current F1 drivers? How cool would it be for fans at home to be able to take on a virtual version of their racing heroes?

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, though, we’ll have to check out “Lap of Legends” when it debuts in spring 2024 on AMC, BBC America, and the Roku Channel here in the U.S.; after its American debut, the special will then be distributed to an additional 28 countries around the world.