V8 Supercars – Euro GT Aces Westbrook And Bergmeister To Join Jack Daniel’s Racing For Armor All Gold Coast 600‏

July 15, 2011

V8 Supercars

Jack Daniel’s Racing has recruited two of the world’s premier GT sportscar drivers for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in Queensland this October 21-23.

British driver will partner Todd Kelly in the team’s #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore, while Germany’s Jörg Bergmeister will drive alongside Rick Kelly in the #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore, which currently sits fourth in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship points standings.

The pair boast enviable career statistics, both coming from a similar background to last year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 standout, American Patrick Long.

Westbrook is a two-time Porsche Supercar champion, the elite Porsche Carrera Cup class that races alongside the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and is also a former FIA GT2 Champion.

High-powered, rear-wheel-drive V8 race cars are familiar to Westbrook, who is a factory driver for Chevrolet’s Corvette Racing GT program, with the Britain unlucky not to take out the GTE Pro class in the stunning American muscle car at the Le Mans 24 Hour earlier this year.

Westbrook’s driving roster in 2011 sees him race a Corvette C6R in American Le Mans Series competition, a Nissan GT-R ‘Godzilla’ in the FIA GT1 World Championship and a Porsche 911 GT3 in selected endurance classics such as the 24 hour races at Spa and the Nurburgring.

Bergmeister has won the GT class in the American Le Mans Series on five occasions, and like Westbrook is a former Porsche Supercup champion.

Standing at 194cm tall, it is expected he will be the tallest driver on the grid at this year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600. He is also one of three official Porsche ‘works’ drivers attending, along with Long and Marc Lieb.

One of the most successful Porsche drivers of his era, Bergmeister has also taken victory at the endurance classics at Le Mans, Daytona, Spa Francorchamps, Sebring and Road Atlanta.

Both Westbrook and Bergmeister will be making their V8 Supercars Championship debut at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 on the Surfers Paradise street circuit on October 21-23. 

TODD KELLY – #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“Jörg Bergmeister and Richard Westbrook are two well-known names in international motorsport circles,” said Todd Kelly.

“They’re very, very established drivers and they are two guys that can jump in all different types of cars and be fast.

“There was a bit of a dark horse that really stood out last year, which was Pat Long, and these two guys are pretty much the same kind of driver as him.

“When they get in our cars they will certainly do it easily and potentially show us full-time guys a thing or two about how to drive.

“It’s good to get somebody so established for each Jack Daniel’s Commodore and we are confident that we’ve got two of the top guys in this year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 line-up.

“What we do here in V8 Supercars is drive the same car all year and that’s our job. But the guys like Bergmeister and Westbrook, they are in a different car every weekend in different teams racing different kinds of motorsport.

“What they learn and pick-up and how they actually develop as race drivers is a lot different to us. They can get in a race car and learn and adapt to what they are in very, very quickly.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these guys will do a fantastic job for Jack Daniel’s Racing. They’ll probably show Rick and I a thing or two about our own cars.”

QUESTION: A lot of the attention is on the IndyCar and ex-Formula 1 drivers at the Armor All Gold Coast 600. Do you expect the European GT sportscar drivers like Bergmeister and Westbrook to surprise, just as Patrick Long did last year?

“With the experience that they’ve got it’s no surprise that they can jump in our cars and do well,” said Todd Kelly.

“It’s funny, with all of the guys that have come over to race at the Gold Coast, there are some massive names there.

“We did a fair bit of homework on who would be best suited to our team, our cars and our drivers and we selected these two guys (Bergmeister and Westbrook).

“We contacted each by email and straight away got the reply ‘yes, I want to be down there 100 percent, what do I need to do to get into your car? I’m in!’

“It was unbelievable. So the recognition that our category and the Gold Coast event have globally really blew me away.

“I thought I’d have to sit there for half an hour explaining who we are, what our team is, what our cars are, what the event is, but globally the awareness of what we do over here is huge.

“Since then we’ve had countless phone calls and emails from drivers, including big names, household names, trying to jump in our cars and drive on the Gold Coast.

“It’s been a big surprise and it’s great for the category. It’s a pretty big boost for V8 Supercars to flood our product through the whole world for that Gold Coast weekend.”

QUESTION: This year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 event will be quite different for 2010. Last year was almost two races in one as one side of Jack Daniel’s Racing garage had the established co-driver and the other side an international. Does it change the event much having an international driver in every car in the field this year?

“I think it does change things,” said Todd Kelly.

“There were a lot of accidents and a lot of biffing and barging on the track last year. To be fair, at least half of it, or most of it, was caused by the full-time blokes.

“Since the news of last year’s event has gone global, all of these drivers around the world have been really chomping at the bit to get in our cars.

“Now there is probably a lot more potential for these international guys to try and out-do each other.

“So I really don’t know what’s going to happen. If there was potential for carnage last year I reckon you could multiply it by 10 and that’s what you should expect for this year.”

JÖRG BERGMEISTER – #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

QUESTION: What do you think of the Armor All Gold Coast event and international co-driver concept?

“From what I’ve heard about it and seen on TV, it looks like a really cool event and I am very excited that I get to be a part of it,” said Jörg Bergmeister.

“I think the concept of having international co-drivers is a great idea and hopefully will help the series get more worldwide recognition.”

QUESTION: What do you know about V8 Supercars?

“I have seen some of the races on TV and it looks like a lot of action and extremely close racing.

“I talked to my team-mate Patrick Long about the cars as he did the race last year. He told me how much fun the entire event was and how challenging the cars were to drive – a lot of power with small tyres.”

QUESTION: What do you expect of the team, cars and racing?

“I don’t really have any expectations. I will try to get some onboard video to learn the track and obviously I need to find a right hand drive car so I can practice here in Germany.

“I was really excited when the team first contacted me and I am definitely looking forward to the race. It’s a great opportunity that Jack Daniel´s Racing is giving me and I hope I can contribute to the team’s success.”

RICHARD WESTBROOK – #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“I’m really excited to be a part of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 this October,” said Richard Westbrook.

“This year I’ve been racing an iconic American muscle car in the Corvette – now I’ll get to sample some Aussie muscle with a Jack Daniel’s Commodore.

“They are both V8s and rear-wheel-drive but obviously V8 Supercars are a unique beast. I expect it to take some getting used to but I will do my research and I can’t wait for the challenge.

“This Gold Coast event has captured the imagination of race drivers the world over. We share cars in GT racing regularly but on this occasion we are dropped into the middle of another driver’s championship, so the pressure will be on.

“What better place to have a race than on the beach in Surfers Paradise. There will be some drivers there that I race with quite often and others I’ve only even seen on TV, so for a racing driver this concept really is something extremely exciting.

“I’ve got to thank Todd and Rick Kelly for giving me this opportunity. They’re growing a great team down there and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

RICHARD WESTBROOK – PROFILE

Date of Birth: 10 July 1975
Birthplace: Chelmsford, Essex, England
Lives: Richmond, London, England
Height: 180cm
Weight: 74kg
Current Series: American Le Mans Series, FIA GT1 World Championship and endurance GT racing
Current Team: Corvette Racing (ALMS), JR Motorsport – Nissan GT-R (FIA GT1), Manthey Racing (Spa 24hr, Nurburgring 24hr, VLN)
V8 Supercars Team for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Jack Daniel’s Racing
Team-mate for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Todd Kelly

Richard Westbrook was regarded as arguably the premier Porsche driver in the world last decade. In his homeland he was the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain champion in 2004 and runner-up in 2003 and 2005.

In the top-level Porsche Supercup he was champion in both 2006, where he finished every single race on the podium, and 2007. He is one of only three drivers to have won the prestigious title, which supports the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, more than once.

In recent years Westbrook has moved into GT sportscar racing, winning the 2009 FIA GT2 Championship in a Porsche GT2 RSR. After years in Porsche machinery, Westbrook now divides his time between some of the world’s premier automotive brands.

In 2011 Westbrook has an enviable driving schedule, one of the factory drivers in Chevrolet’s Corvette Racing GT program in the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hour, as well as racing a Nissan GT-R ‘Godzilla’ in the FIA GT1 World Championship and the odd return for Porsche in the Nurburgring and Spa Francorchamps 24 hour endurance races and British GT Championship. He also piloted a BMW-powered Daytona prototype sportscar at the Daytona 24 hour and drove a Ford GT in the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship.

RICHARD WESTBROOK – CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

CHAMPION – 2009 FIA GT2 Championship

CHAMPION – 2007 Porsche Supercup

CHAMPION – 2006 Porsche Supercup

CHAMPION – 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

CHAMPION – 1990 British Karting Championship

RICHARD WESTBROOK – INTERESTING FACTS

– His father Tony was a huge inspiration and encouraged him to go karting when he was a child. Tony was the 1972 British Special Saloon Champion in a Cosworth-engined Mini
– When he was 9 years old he started his racing career at Snetterton race circuit
– At 15 Richard was captain of the English Karting Team, racing in the World Championships against future F1 stars like Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella
– Westbrook was runner-up in the McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year in 1994
– In 2011 ran his third London Marathon alongside Chevrolet Racing team-mate and countryman Oliver Gavin and other members of the British Racing Drivers’ Club in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust
– Richard is a keen cook and trained at the Victoria Centre in London, famous as the grad school of Jamie Oliver. If he was not a racing driver, he lists chef and restaurant owner as his dream profession
– Richard’s former engineer from the Opel Lotus series was David Lloyd who is now the Race Operations Manager of the Ferrari Formula 1 Team
– During his first Porsche Supercup Championship winning year, Richard finished on the podium in every race
– Westbrook became the first English Porsche factory ‘Works’ driver since Derek Bell in the 1980s
– His favourite bands are LCD Soundsystem, Led Zeppelin and The Dovers

JÖRG BERGMEISTER – PROFILE

Nationality: German
Date of Birth: 13 February 1976
Birthplace: Leverkusen
Lives: Langerfeld
Status: Married
Children: One child
Height: 194cm
Weight: 80kg
Current Series: Official Porsche Motorsport factory driver (racing GT in ALMS and ILMS)
Current Team: Flying Lizard (ALMS) and Fay
V8 Supercars Team for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Jack Daniel’s Racing
Team-mate for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Rick Kelly

Jörg Bergmeister is the giant of the 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600 field, standing at 194cm tall. The German is in an exclusive club as one of a handful of Porsche’s factory ‘works’ driver line-up, alongside Patrick Long and Marc Lieb, who will also race aboard a V8 Supercars in Surfers Paradise this October.

Like his Jack Daniel’s Racing team-mate Richard Westbrook, Bergmeister is a former Porsche Supercup champion, winning the prestigious title, which runs alongside the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, in 2001.

Bergmeister has dominated GT class racing in the American Le Mans Series recently, taking out that title in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

He has also taken victory at the endurance classics at Le Mans, Daytona, Spa Francorchamps, Sebring and Road Atlanta.

JÖRG BERGMEISTER – CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

CHAMPION – 2010 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)
WINNER – 2010 Spa 24 Hour
CHAMPION – 2009 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)
WINNER – 2009 Daytona 24 Hour (GT2 Class)
CHAMPION – 2008 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)
WINNER – 2008 Sebring 12 Hour (GT2 Class)
WINNER – 2007 Petit Le Mans (GT2 Class)
CHAMPION – 2006 GrandAm Sportscar Series (Daytona Prototype)
CHAMPION – 2006 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)
CHAMPION – 2005 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)
WINNER – 2004 Le Mans 24 Hour (GT Class)
WINNER – 2004 Sebring 12 Hour (GT Class)
WINNER – 2003 Daytona 24 Hour (GT Class)
WINNER – 2002 Daytona 24 Hour (GT Class)
CHAMPION – 2001 Porsche Supercup
CHAMPION – 2000 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany
CHAMPION – 1993 Formula König

JÖRG BERGMEISTER – INTERESTING FACTS

– At 194cm tall (or 6”4) is taller than Garth Tander, the tallest of the full-time V8 Supercars drivers
– Has been an official Porsche works driver since 2002-2004 and 2007-present and has raced almost exclusively in Porsche machinery since 1998
– Hobbies include snowboarding and mountain biking
– Also has a degree in Economics
– Was team-mate to fellow Porsche works driver Patrick Long at Flying Lizard Motorsports aboard a Porsche at the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hour in GTE Pro class
– Despite their massive height difference, Bergmeister and Long have shared many victories together, joining forces to win the ALMS GT title in 2005, 2009 and 2010
– Bergmeister’s GT class win at Le Mans in 2004 was also alongside Long and German Saascha Maassin
– His father, Willi Bergmeister, owns a workshop and dealership where Michael Schumacher learned his trade as a car mechanic in the 1980s

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