V8 Supercars – Franchitti Back On The Gold Coast; The Other One!

July 21, 2011

V8 Supercars

The name Franchitti has become synonymous with the Armor All Gold Coast 600 for many years and it will be back again in October!

 

Dario Franchitti won the Champ Car race on the streets of Surfers Paradise in 1999 and returned last year to co-drive with Steve Johnson at Jim Beam Racing – this year it will be his brother Marino who will be cutting laps.

 

Marino attended last year’s race as a spectator, but this year he will be a part of Lucas Dumbrell’s Gulf Western Oils team as a co-driver to Warren Luff.

 

Franchitti is a seasoned sports car racer in his own right and earlier this year finished second in the Sebring 12-hour alongside Simon Pagenaud and Australia’s David Brabham – the three clinched last year’s American Le Mans Series for Highcroft Racing.

 

Marino has amassed some impressive accomplishments including class wins in the 2009 and 2010 Petit Le Mans.

 

While Dario is married to Hollywood star Ashleigh Judd, Marino is married to Holly Mason, the daughter of Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason.

 

Ironically, V8 Supercar star James Courtney was a guest at the weddings of both Franchitti brothers, having forged friendships in his early European racing career.

 

Marino joins 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, Australian IndyCar stars Will Power and Ryan Briscoe, French sportscar ace Simon Pagenaud and Brazilian hotshot Augusto Farfus to be confirmed in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 field, with the remaining 17 drivers being announced over the coming week.

 

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.

 

Queensland Minister for Sport, Phil Reeves, said that the inclusion of Marino Franchitti mixed a “bit of the old, with a bit of the new”.

 

“I met Marino last year and he is a terrific young bloke who was pretty keen to get out there in a V8 Supercar and have a blast around,” said Reeves.

 

“I have not met too many drivers who make good spectators and we are delighted that Marino has secured a drive for this year’s event. His brother Dario has not only had success here previously, he is a great friend of our event.

 

“The Scotsman adds another country to our list participants. The Bligh Government is a big supporter of this event because it takes the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia to all corners of the globe, by attracting class acts like Marino Franchitti.”

 

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY …

 

MARINO FRANCHITTI – GULF WESTERN OILS RACING

 

“I’ve been a big fan of V8 Supercars since I started watching Bathurst back in the days of Peter Brock and Dick Johnson and the last few years I’ve obviously been keeping a close eye on how my good mate James Courtney has been going,” said Franchitti.

 

“It’s a very popular series worldwide and it’s a great opportunity that Gulf Western Oils Racing and V8 Supercars have given me.

 

“I came down to the event last year with Dario and from the moment I got there it was obvious that I had to be involved.

 

“It was just the best weekend, the racing during the day and the concerts at night, the only thing that was missing was me being in a car and luckily enough Lucas has been able to hook me up this year.

 

“I had a few offers but I really wanted to drive with Warren Luff as we’ve known each other for a few years now.

 

“We shared a garage with him at the Nurburgring 24 hours a few years ago so there’s that familiarity for me in the team which is good.

 

“I’ve driven some big front-engine rear wheel drive cars before but nothing like a V8 Supercar – everybody I’ve spoken to says they’ve never driven anything that compares to them so I’m just approaching it with an open mind.

 

“A V8 Supercar is obviously not going to have the downforce or the grip of the Le Mans prototypes I normally drive but it’s got four wheels and an engine so I just need to drive it as quick as I can and see how we go.

 

“I’m coming down very early and I’m actually going to head up to Bathurst with the Gulf Western Oils team to get to know all the guys a bit better before the Gold Coast race.

 

“I’m taking it very seriously, I’m not coming down just to make up the numbers.”

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