Only two internationals get test miles
Tiago Monteiro and David Brabham will be the only Armor All Gold Coast 600 drivers who will get any V8 Supercars testing miles in the lead-up to the new international driver race at the Surfers Paradise street track on October 22-24.
Monteiro tested with Centaur Racing at Winton in May, organised by the Tony D’Alberto team, and while most of the V8 teams would have liked to test its drivers, date clashes and costs will see most of the other internationals get their first V8 laps at Queensland Raceway on the Wednesday in a special one-off test before the Gold Coast race.
Stone Brothers Racing driver Brabham – who will also compete at Phillip Island and Bathurst – will test at Queensland Raceway on September 2.
Of the 18 international drivers, nine of them have raced V8 Supercars before, while three will contest at least one of the other endurance races this year.
Ford Performance Racing’s two international drivers are of the most anticipated in the race – Australian IndyCar leader Will Power and former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Team principal Tim Edwards told Speedcafe.com.au that he tried to get his drivers out to test, but other commitments for Power and Villeneuve were unavoidable.
“Will is leading the IndyCar championship, so you can understand why Penske won’t release him,” Edwards said.
“He’s driven these cars before, he’s fully aware of what he’s in for, and he’s chuckling to himself, listening to some of the other blokes being a little blasé about how well they think they’re going to do. Will is preparing himself mentally for that.
“Jacques is busy doing some other things which is unfortunate. We wanted him to come out, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”
The first time that the majority of the international drivers will drive the V8s will be on Wednesday, October 20th in a special test at Queensland Raceway.
“It’s definitely going to be an education for some of them, for sure,” Edwards said.
“Jacques has been driving NASCAR, and he drove the road course recently (at Road America), so at least he’s got some recent experience driving something with poor brakes, poor rubber, closed roof etc. Whereas some of the others who have hopped straight out of open wheelers are going to be in a hell of a shock.”
Below is the confirmed list of international drivers and teams that they will compete with at the Gold Coast street race.
|Sebastien Bourdais||France||Dick Johnson Racing||#19|
|David Brabham||Australia||Stone Brothers Racing||#4, #9|
|Ryan Briscoe||Australia||Toll Holden Racing Team||#2, #22|
|Scott Dixon||New Zealand||Jack Daniel’s Racing||#7, #15|
|Dario Franchitti||Scotland||Jim Beam Racing||#17, #18|
|Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Germany||Wilson Security Racing||#47|
|Fabrizio Giovanardi||Italy||Britek Motorsport||#21|
|Patrick Long||USA||Fujitsu Racing/GRM||#33, #34|
|Alain Menu||Switzerland||Brad Jones Racing||#8, #14|
|Tiago Monteiro||Portugal||Centaur Racing||#3|
|Gianni Morbidelli||Italy||Triple F Racing||#12|
|Yvan Muller||France||Paul Morris Motorsport||#39, #51|
|Will Power||Australia||Ford Performance Racing||#5, #6|
|Andy Priaulx||UK||TeamVodafone||#1, #888|
|Scott Pruett||USA||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||#30|
|Mika Salo||Finland||Bundaberg Red Racing||#10, #24|
|Alex Tagliani||Canada||Kelly Racing||#11, #16|
|Jacques Villeneuve||Canada||The Bottle-O Racing Team||#55|