Jenson Button, the legendary British racecar driver, has yet again managed to stun the world of racing by adding another impressive accolade to his already illustrious resume. This time, it wasn’t on the track but rather away from it! The former Formula 1 World Champion has become a Guinness World Record holder for driving a car at the fastest speed whilst travelling on two wheels.
Button, who retired from Formula 1 in 2017, has taken on some truly adrenaline-fueled challenges since stepping away from the sport. However, this most recent accomplishment proves that Button’s love for speed and adventure isn’t limited to the racetrack. So how did he do it?
The new record was achieved in early 2020 in California, where Button was fulfilling his duties as a presenter for the car show, Top Gear America. Inspired by an already pre-existing record-setting two-wheel car stunt, the team behind the show saw the potential for Button to outdo the previous record-holder while at the same time, put on a thrilling spectacle for their audience.
After several practice attempts, Button took up position behind the wheel of a specially modified, high-performance car. The vehicle was equipped with dual rear wheels, specially manufactured to allow for a smoother ride on two wheels. The legendary driver managed to hit an impressive top speed of 186.03 km/h over a stretch of 0.89 kilometers, thus breaking the previous record set by Chinese stunt driver, Han Yue, in 2014.
Upon completing the stunt, Button expressed his excitement: “It was so much fun and quite a challenge to drive the car on two wheels at such a high speed. It’s a record that is very hard to break due to the skill you need and the danger that’s involved in going at that speed. It was certainly one of the most unique and exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had behind the wheel of a car, and I loved every minute of it!”
It’s important to note that this achievement does not detract from Button’s status as a legendary F1 driver. ”The experience of driving and winning in Formula 1 cannot be compared to anything else. It’s a completely different challenge that demands another level of mental and physical fitness. But the adrenaline rush and focus needed for each sport are very similar, and driving on two wheels requires pinpoint precision and control, which is essential in Formula 1 as well”, Button stated.
Despite being a much younger category than Formula 1, Guinness World Records has become synonymous with thrill-seeking stunts that often see participants challenge themselves to the limits of their abilities. Racing drivers are no strangers to seeking these sorts of challenges, and Button is not the first of them to hold a world record.
Some may remember in 2006 when former F1 driver, Mark Webber, set the record for driving the longest distance in a racecar over the course of one hour. His Guinness World Record stood for eight years, until 2014, when endurance driver, Pascal Witmeur, broke it in Belgium. Then in 2017, two drivers, Shmee150 and Yianni Charalambous drove more than 2,500 km around the perimeter of the UK in just four days, breaking the Guinness World Record for a continuous relay car journey.
Jenson Button has now made his name synonymous with speed, technical excellence and adventure in both Formula 1 and in everyday life. This world record-breaking stunt was just another way the legendary driver has kept his competitive spirit alive after stepping away from F1 racing. When asked if he’s looking to break any more records in the future, Button replied: “For now, the plan is to enjoy the memories of this incredible experience. But who knows, maybe I’ll take on another record someday!”.
Regardless of whether we see him chasing a new record or not, Jenson Button has proven that his love for speed and racing will never be diminished. After retiring from F1 racing, he’s dedicated his time to supporting young drivers and helping to shape the future of racing – something that he is just as passionate about as when he was tearing up the race tracks.