Ricky Wilson tours MTC with Jenson Button
Ricky Wilson, Kaiser in Chief, Radio X DJ, and coach on BBC’s musical talent show The Voice, lay down his microphone for a day yesterday to pay a visit to the home of McLaren.
Ricky, a UK ambassador for Honda’s legendary sports hatchback, the Civic Type R, was a visitor to the McLaren Technology Campus on Tuesday (October 15). His tour guide? No less than 2009 Formula 1 world champion and fellow Type R driver (he memorably drove one in and out of the British Grand Prix in July) Jenson Button.
Jenson broke off from a busy day of simulator preparatory work for the forthcoming US and Mexican Grands Prix to give Ricky a whistlestop tour of the factory. Ricky’s visit culminated in a trip to the legendarily secret McLaren simulator, where he was tossed a spare crash helmet and pair of gloves and invited to step into the cockpit!
With heart thumping, Ricky immediately accepted the challenge, immediately setting off on some (somewhat faltering) laps of the challenging Circuit of the Americas, venue for next week’s US Grand Prix, in Austin.
“This place is unbelievable,” said Ricky. “It almost feels a bit James Bond-esque as you drive in – I have thoroughly enjoyed my tour, and Jenson was the consummate host.
“I am so glad he [Jenson] had gone by the time I got into the simulator as I don’t think the boys at McLaren had ever seen anyone roll it before now,” said Ricky Wilson. “When it comes to toys; they don’t come any bigger or better than that and I feel extremely lucky to be one of the very few people to have experienced it. I thought my Civic Type R was quick but that is a whole new level.
“Becoming an ambassador for the Civic Type R has been fantastic and I’m doing some amazing things and going to some amazing places, like the MTC. From earning my race licence up at Knockhill with the 2015 BTCC champion Gordon Shedden to taking on the Goodwood hillclimb this summer at the Festival of Speed to now experiencing the wonder of the McLaren Technology Centre; every day I am loving it more and more!”
After concluding his tour host duties, Jenson added: “It’s Ricky’s turn to invite me to something now. He owes me VIP backstage passes to the next big gig he does – and I’m not taking no for an answer!”
You can catch Ricky on BBC1’s The Voice every Saturday night until Christmas. His band The Kaiser Chiefs tour across the UK in January 2016.