V8 Supercars – Two More Young Hotshots For Gold Coast Event

July 14, 2011

V8 Supercars

A relationship forged almost 30 years ago has led to the latest international signing for this year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600, October 21-23.

Fujitsu Racing/GRM owner, Garry Rogers, raced a BMW with Bob Jane in Australia in the mid 1980s and during the relationship the pair visited Schnitzer BMW in Germany where they attended a few endurance events, including the Spa 24-hour with team Principal, Charlie Lamm.

It was Lamm who Rogers contacted about some “talent” for this year’s Gold Coast event and the German offered up his Brazilian hot shot Augusto Farfus, who currently drives for him in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

Rogers has also announced that young French star Simon Pagenaud will be joining his Fujitsu Racing stable for the event which will attract a total of 28 international stars.

They will team-up with Rogers’ regular stars Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso, but final pairings will not be announced until race week.

The two join this year’s Indy 500 pole sitter Alex Tagliani, European stars Andy Priaulx, Marc Lieb and Dirk Müller, US gun Joey Hand, colourful US veteran Boris Said and Australian IndyCar stars Will Power and Ryan Briscoe as the confirmed drivers in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 field, with the remaining 18 being announced in coming weeks.

The international stars will team-up with home-grown Australian talent such as Craig Lowndes, Mark Winterbottom, Jamie Whincup, James Courtney, Steve Johnson, Jason Bright, Will Davison, Russell Ingall, Garth Tander and Rick Kelly.

This year’s event will not only include some of the biggest names in world motorsport, but also from the world of entertainment with the event’s Rock and Race format to continue with nightly concerts at the Broadwater Parklands entertainment precinct.

Rogers is regarded as one of the best spotters of young talent in the V8 Supercar pit lane and his lower-profile selected driver last year, Patrick Long, turned out to be the surprise packet of the weekend.

Long is expected to be confirmed with an opposition team in coming weeks.

“It is funny how things work out. I first had a relationship with Schnitzer BMW around 30 years ago and here we are using one of Charlie Lamm’s drivers on the Gold Coast,” said Rogers.

“I think we have two talented young blokes who can do the job, whether they are crash proof is something we will not find out until race weekend.

“I am sure they will fit into our team very well and will be great ambassadors for V8 Supercars back in their own countries.

“A few people questioned our selection of Patrick Long last year and we certainly proved them wrong, I am sure these two guys will also get the job done.”

Pagenaud is no stranger to the Gold Coast haven driven for the Team Australia Champ Car team in 2007. He is now recognised a one of the world’s best young sportscar talents and recently finished second outright at the Le Mans 24-hour.

Both Pagenaud and Farfus will drive a V8 Supercar for the first time at a special test day on the Wednesday of the Gold Coast event at Queensland Raceway.

The announcement of the Frenchman and the Brazilian also adds two more countries to the list that will be represented at this year’s event.

“The Armor All Gold Coast 600 is about showcasing Queensland and Australia to the rest of the world and having varied and talented drivers like Augusto and Simon helps us achieve our goal,” said Queensland Sports Minister Phil Reeves.

“The Bligh Government is a great supporter of V8 Supercars and the Armor All Gold Coast 600 is the crown jewel on the V8 Supercar calendar.”

“Queensland is not only becoming known as the Champions State, but also the Event State, and this motor race is a great example of that.”

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY …

Simon Pagenaud – Fujitsu Racing GRM

“I was delighted when Garry first made contact with me in regards to driving for the GRM team at the Gold Coast,” said Pagenaud.

“It is quite amazing the amount of publicity and interest that the V8 Supercar category gets both in Europe and the US, where I am competing for both Peugeot and in Indy Cars.

“A little information has already leaked out about my drive on the Gold Coast and the interest has certainly risen.

“I compete in the Sportcars with Patrick Long, who drove for the GRM boys last year and he tells me he not only had a wonderful race event but also had a lot of fun and enjoyment with the team. I am looking forward to this event very much and also meeting all of the GRM people.”

Augusto Farfus – Fujitsu Racing GRM

“For me, the chance to compete at the Gold Coast Event is something I am really looking forward to. I drive for the Schnitzer BMW Team and also compete in various sports car events,” said Farfus.

“Charlie Lamm, the principal of Schnitzer has had dealings with Garry Rogers in the past and I am really looking forward to meeting Garry and the Team.

“The vision that I have seen of the circuit shows it to be very fast and flowing which is the type of racing that I am familiar with. I believe that I will adapt well to the V8 Supercar technology. Whilst engine sizes vary, the principle of front engine rear wheel drive is something that I am familiar with.”

Lee Holdsworth – Fujitsu Racing GRM

“Last year’s Gold Coast Event was obviously well accepted by the supporters and the drivers,” said Holdsworth.

“The introduction of professionals from other categories of motorsport was always going to be an unknown.

“While there was some crashing, the event proved to be exciting and successful and produced some of the best racing that we saw throughout the season.

“This year we have to have two international drivers instead of one.

“This year we have two of perhaps the younger drivers in the overseas brigade and anything can happen, but clearly both Augusto and Simon have pretty solid performances to their credit coming into the Gold Coast Event.

“As always with Garry, we have not yet discussed who will be driving with who, to quote his words ‘lets concentrate our energies on winning the races before us prior to getting to the Gold Coast’ he’s a shocking waffler.

“Next thing he will want to be engineering the car.”

Michael Caruso – Fujitsu Racing GRM

“I am really looking forward to competing at the Gold Coast again it is a fast flowing and exciting circuit and with the high-rise buildings and seascape,” said Caruso.

“Last year, being the first year of the format I was paired with our International driver Patrick Long and between us we achieved a very solid performance on a very demanding circuit.

“Our driver pairings this year have not been decided but we have two of the most competitive drivers coming to Australia for the event with terrific endurance experience.

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