V8 Supercars Chairman Tony Cochrane says that there is a real chance that none of the IndyCar drivers slated to drive in this weekend’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 will compete.
In light of Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident in the IndyCar finale at Las Vegas today, Cochrane says that he will support Wheldon’s direct rivals if they choose to remain in the United States.
The five drivers affected by the incident include Australian’s Will Power (#5 Orrcon Steel FPR) and Ryan Briscoe (#2 Toll HRT), plus Tony Kanaan (#14 Jana Living Racing), Alex Tagliani (#16 Stratco Racing) and Helio Castroneves (#47 Lucky 7 Racing).
Wheldon was scheduled to race with James Courtney in the #1 Toll Holden Racing Team Commodore VE.
Cochrane told the media today that V8 Supercars will decide in the next 24 hours what course of action it will take, should the IndyCar drivers not make the journey to Australia.
“It’s going to clearly affect some of his other friends from IndyCar who were also coming out with him and looking forward to this weekend,” Cochrane said.
“Right at the moment, we are really focussed on what support we can offer towards the IndyCar family, and in particular, Susie and the kids.
“We’ll group up over the next 24 hours and work out what this is going to mean for us come the weekend.
“We have to be honest, we have to face the real prospect that all six IndyCar drivers may pull out. If they wish to do that, we fully respect that. We fully understand that. They will have our complete support.”
Cochrane also cast an ominous doubt over Will Power’s appearance, who was involved in the accident.
“We know he has been admitted to hospital with some form of back complaint. Any more detail, we don’t have at this point in time,” Cochrane said.
“I would think that aside from the tragic loss of a great friend of his, I would think that the impact Will sustained in the accident would rule him out.”
Cochrane passed on his condolences to the Wheldon family.
“It’s a really tough day,” Cochrane said.
“On behalf of all the V8 Supercars family, let me pass on our deepest sympathies to his wife Susie, his children and his brothers, sisters and family who were at the circuit.
“It is a really hard day for the IndyCar family and fraternity, and it’s a really tragic loss – not just because he was a great race car driver, he certainly was that, but he also was a fantastic bloke. He was very much respected and liked in our V8 Supercar fraternity. He is just a huge loss.”
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s story on Wheldon’s passing.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s timeline of Wheldon’s racing career.
See below for video with Tony Cochrane, James Courtney and Marino Franchitti.