The two are driving DAF 600 Variomatic sedans, which go as fast in reverse as they do in drive.

watch max verstappen and yuki tsunoda race backwards in extremely dutch race
Screenshot: Red Bull on YouTube

When he rocketed to the front of the field last weekend, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen made racing look so easy. With clear air ahead and near-perfect situational awareness, he was unstoppable. Something has to be done. So Red Bull has decided to make him race in reverse.

In a new video on the brand’s YouTube channel, Red Bull pits Verstappen against AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda in a reverse race through an obstacle course. The two are each given a Dutch DAF 600 with the Variomatic continuously variable transmission. Aside from being a tech demonstrator of a transmission technology that would not be widely adapted for another five decades, the DAF has another claim to fame. That CVT allows it to drive as quickly in reverse as it does in drive.

That means the car can get up to nearly 75 mph in reverse. Actually controlling a car that steers from the front but drives at 75 in reverse is easier said than done, even for a pro. Within a few seconds of starting his qualifying run, Tsunoda tries to initiate the first turn through the obstacle course and immediately veers into a wall. Verstappen has better luck, but you can tell he’s taking it slow to avoid imitating the AlphaTauri driver’s gaff.

Simply completing the qualifying gives Verstappen pole position for the race itself. But to see whether he is as successful in reverse as he is when things are headed in the right direction, you’ll have to watch the video.

If you want to watch more of this fantastically Dutch sport, you can look up “achteruitrijden,” and you’ll find all kinds of clips from the long-running Dutch TV staple “Te land, ter zee en in de lucht” (the land, the sea, and in the air), which has gobs of clips of DAF action from the heady days of the 1970s. There are also excellent music interludes. Not to be missed.

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