A host of Australian motoring and sporting identities launched the 2012 Formula One Australian Grand Prix, held in conjunction with the Australian Premiere of Senna.
Leading the way was Paul Stoddart, the former F1 team owner who raced into the Crown Entertainment Complex in his F1 Minardi after driving it along Clarendon Street in Melbourne’s CBD.
Stoddart joined an elite group of guests on the red carpet, including former 500cc motorcycle World Champions Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner, V8 Supercars drivers Rick and Todd Kelly, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Steven Richards. Also present were Melbourne-based models Alex Davis and Emily Cattermole and Collingwood Football Club personalities Scott Pendlebury and Nathan Buckley.
The highly anticipated Universal Pictures film Senna follows triple F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna through his F1 career from its start in 1984 to its tragic end at Imola in 1994.
Speaking at a function before the premiere, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott announced the support line-up, which for the first time include Group A and Group C Touring Cars.
“On track in 2012 we will welcome back the V8 Supercars which were a tremendous success in 2011 with the new pit lane corporate facility and extended endurance racing,” he said.
“Motorsport fans can also look forward to a new support category in 2012, the Group A/C Touring Cars. In a first for Albert Park, these predecessors to V8 Supercars will thrill fans with an array of Commodores, Skylines and Sierra’s from the early 1970s through to the 1990s.
“There is also every indication that the Red Bull Race Off will be on track once again and we can’t forget the ever-popular Porsche Carrera Cup, Shannon’s Historics and the Ultimate Speed Comparison.”
Following a very successful year in 2011, with particular growth in corporate and grandstand patronage, Westacott also announced two additions to the 2012 F1 AGP corporate program.
“We are excited to announce that we’ll be launching an all new female focused Grand Prix experience titled the Ladies Lounge,” he said.
“Held at Albert Park’s iconic restaurant The Point, the Ladies Lounge will target female fans providing an exclusive race day experience including three-course meal, fashion parades, massages and pedicures.”
The Ladies Lounge will be held on the Saturday and Sunday of the event and will allow fans to get dressed up and experience the fun of the Grand Prix, whilst relaxing and soaking up the stylish ambience.
Westacott also confirmed the popular Formula Fine Dining concept will return in 2012 with two internationally acclaimed chefs. The first, French celebrity chef and recent Dancing with the Stars champion Manu Feildel and the second, Masterchef regular and entrepreneur Matt Moran, as the hosts for Friday and Saturday evening.
The 2011 F1 season continues this weekend at the German Grand Prix. See below for Speedcafe.com’s Nurburgring Race Guide