V8 Supercars – Liuzzi Headlines F1’s Gold Coast Onslaught

July 28, 2011

Formula 1, V8 Supercars

(c) jxpphotography.com

The Armor All Gold Coast 600 will feature a current Formula One driver for the first time this year after the signing of Hispania Racing Team F1’s young Italian star Tonio Liuzzi for the October 21-23 event.

Liuzzi will co-drive with talented Ford driver Tony D’Alberto in the Wilson Securities Falcon and is one of seven drivers with Formula One experience announced at today’s official launch, which also celebrated the up-coming 21st birthday of the event.

Liuzzi will race in the Korean Grand Prix on October 16, fly to the Gold Coast for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 and then head to India for the penultimate round of the F1 World Championship the following weekend.

The seven drivers announced today collectively have no less than 350 Formula One Grand Prix starts between them.

Joining Liuzzi on the streets of Surfers Paradise will be twice Gold Coast Indy winner – Sebastian Bourdais, who will co-drive with either Craig Lowndes or Jamie Whincup at TeamVodafone.

Former Ferrari driver, Mika Salo (Will Davison-FPR), ex-Stewart GP ace Jan Magnussen (Russell Ingall – Supercheap Auto Racing), Austrian Christian Klien (Paul Dumbrell – Bottle-O Racing), journeyman Gianni Morbidelli (Dean Fiore –Triple F Racing) and the versatile Stephane Sarrazin (Jason Bright – Team BOC) complete the list of high-powered F1 heroes – all set to duke it out in 635 horsepower Ford and Holden V8 Supercars on the streets of Australia’s holiday playground.

A total of 25 of the 28 internationals have been announced and along with the F1 stars includes former Indycar and Indy 500 winners, British, European, Italian and World Touring car champions and winners from the world’s most iconic endurance events including the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Daytona 24-hour, Sebring 12-hour and Le-Mans 24-hour – no less than 12 different countries will be represented.

The build-up to this year’s event will include a full test day at Queensland Raceway on Wednesday October 19 and a half-day test the following day – primarily designed for the Indycar drivers arriving in late from their final round and gala dinner in Las Vegas the weekend prior.

Having come through junior formulae as a Red Bull driver, Liuzzi is highly rated among the Formula 1 fraternity – spending time at Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Force India and now HRT.

“I had a good look at the TDR car when I was at the Australian Grand Prix earlier in the year and I was really impressed,” said Liuzzi.

“There isn’t much difference in size between myself and Tony and our seat position should be comfortable together. We will be a good team.

“I don’t think it will take me long to adapt to the car. The one-day testing before will be good. I have experience with powerful saloon cars and I really enjoy driving them. I see the V8 Supercars being very similar.

“After finding out that I was coming to Australia to race, I have followed the V8 Supercars a little closer. It looks like very exciting, close racing.

“The test that we’ll do beforehand will be very important. I would like to do more time in the car, but I guess it’s the same for everyone.”

Liuzzi believes the tough Surfers Paradise street layout will suit his driving style and he believes the international concept of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 has a great future.

“Street tracks always present their own challenges. Monaco is one of my favourite tracks. Surfers is going to be very similar where you have to be very precise,” said Liuzzi

“Every race driver I know is interested in the event. I think I’ve made some jealous! I guess I will tell them how it is when I get to the Indian Grand Prix the next weekend.

“I would like to see as much as I can of Surfers Paradise. I have never been there before and everyone I know really loves it.

“I like to go jogging, so I will try and go for some runs along the beach. I also hope to go for a swim too.”

D’Alberto has been impressive several times this season in his FPR-prepared Falcon and is looking forward to working with Liuzzi and adding to his points balance on the Gold Coast.

“It will be such an honour to race alongside Tonio at the Gold Coast,” D’Alberto said.

“Last year, I was teamed up with Tiago Monterio, who has finished on the podium in a Formula One race. Now I get to drive with someone who is a current F1 driver. It’s pretty cool to be in my position.

“Tonio drives for Hispania and they aren’t a front-running team, but he has been in the sport for a long time and has proven himself. He has experience in big touring cars as well, so I think he is going to surprise a lot of people.

“Everyone thinks that the sportscar drivers are going to be the fastest, but I reckon Tonio will be a surprise package.”

V8 Supercars Chairman, Tony Cochrane, said he could not be happier with the depth of the international field, which has been assembled for this year’s race to team-up with V8 Supercars’ local home ground talent.

“We are delighted with the final field of international drivers that we have so far and we still have a couple of surprises to come,” said Cochrane.

“We have a great mixture of youth and experience and our first current F1 star in Tonio Liuzzi.

“To be honest, the interest has been that strong that we could have filled 60 spots on the grid with international drivers and that is a great sign for the event and its future.

“Some of the drivers might not be household names in Australia, but they are all high-profile drivers in their own countries and their involvement in this event will help create so much more international interest for the Gold Coast and Queensland.

“It is safe to say everyone will know who they are by the time they leave here.

“I am sure we are going to be in for one hell of a show.”

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.

The 600 Sounds festival will be headlined by legendary Scottish band, Simple Minds, on the Saturday night.

Three-day tickets start at just $136 and provide three days of racing action and two night of live music.

Tickets for this year’s event are on sale tomorrow through ticktek.com or by calling 132 849.

A RUN DOWN ON TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

BOURDAIS – Former Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 pilot and the only man to stand atop the Gold Coast podium as a double winner in the 18 years of the open-wheeled version of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 – will team up with one of the all conquering TeamVodafone drivers – and after being one of the international leading lights last year – he’s keen to return and go one step better and win the event.

SALO – Saw the F1 lights go out 109 times – raced with seven teams throughout his eight-season F1 career. This will be his second visit to the Surfers Paradise concrete canyon, having raced last year with Andrew Thompson at Bundy Red Racing – this year will form an exceptionally strong combination with Will Davison in the #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon.

MAGNUSSEN – Once rated as a potential world champion – had 25 F1 starts before turning his hand to sportscar racing and last year completed one NASCAR Sprint Cup start. He makes his Surfers Paradise debut and will link up with Russell Ingall in the Supercheap Auto Paul Morris Motorsport machine in what is set to be an explosive combination.

KLEIN – Will partner Paul Dumbrell at Bottle-O Racing. Mark Webber’s former teammate has 49 F1 starts on his honour roll, last year racing for the Hispania Racing Team – ensuring he will be able to compare notes with Liuzzi whilst enjoying the Gold Coast sunshine.

MORBIDELLI – One of the more popular drivers in F1’s history, Italian Gianni Morbidelli will link up with Dean Fiore once again. It’s fair to say that Morbidelli never really struck his full potential in an F1 career that saw him drive for Ferrari, Footwork, Minardi, Sauber and Dallara. He has happy memories of Australia – the final Formula 1 Adelaide Grand Prix in 1995 brought his only career podium finish.

SARRAZIN – One of the most versatile drivers of the modern age. Competing in just one Grand Prix for Minardi, but testing for, among others, the Toyota factory team – Sarrazin is perhaps best known for his exploits as a rally driver. He drove with the all-conquering Subaru World Rally team and is now racing under the Peugeot banner – taking third in the Le Mans 24 Hour race and is contracted to run in the International Rally Challenge (IRC). Sarrazin has given himself a great opportunity for a good result in his first racing visit to Australia by linking up with Jason Bright at Team BOC.

* The event may change schedules and performance times – add, withdraw, reschedule or substitute artists and or vary the event program.

CONFIRMED ARMOR ALL GOLD COAST 600 LINE UP

Car#/V8 Team/V8 Driver/International driver/nationality/overseas category

#1 Toll Holden Racing Team James Courtney / TBC
#2 Toll Holden Racing Team Garth Tander / Ryan Briscoe (Australia) : IndyCar
#3 Wilson Security Racing Tony D’Alberto / Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) : Formula 1
#4 IRWIN Racing Alex Davison / Marc Lieb (Germany) : Le Mans
#5 Orrcon Steel FPR Mark Winterbottom / Will Power (Australia) : IndyCar
#6 Trading Post FPR Will Davison / Mika Salo (Finland) : Formula 1 & Le Mans
#7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly / Jorg Bergmeister (Germany) : Le Mans
#8 Team BOC Jason Bright / Stephane Sarrazin (France) : Formula 1, Le Mans & World Rally Championship
#9 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen / Scott Dixon (New Zealand) : IndyCar
#11 Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy / Oliver Gavin (Great Britain) : Le Mans
#12 Triple F Racing Dean Fiore / Gianni Morbidelli (Italy) : F1 & World Touring Car Championship
#14 Jana Living Racing Jason Bargwanna / TBC
#15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly / Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) : Le Mans
#17 Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson / Dirk Muller (Germany) : World Touring Car Championship & Le Mans
#18 Jim Beam Racing James Moffat / Joey Hand (USA) : American Le Mans Series
#19 Mother Energy Drink Racing Jonathon Webb / TBC
#21 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Karl Reindler / Fabrizio Giovanardi (Italy) : World Touring Car Championship
#30 Gulf Western Oils Racing Warren Luff / Marino Franchitti (Great Britain) : Le Mans
#33 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth / Simon Pagenaud (France): IndyCar & Le Mans
#34 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso / Augusto Farfus (Brazil) : World Touring Car Championship & Le Mans
#39 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall / Jan Magnussen (Denmark) : Formula 1 & World Touring Car Championship
#47 Lucky7 Racing Tim Slade / Helio Castroneves (Brazil) : IndyCar
#49 VIP Petfoods Racing Steve Owen / Boris Said (USA) : NASCAR & Le Mans
#55 The Bottle-O Racing Team Paul Dumbrell / Christian Klein (Austria) : Formula 1 & Le Mans
#61 Bundaberg Racing Fabian Coulthard / Patrick Long (USA) : Le Mans
#88 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup / Andy Priaulx (Great Britain) : World Touring Car Championship & Le Mans
#888 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes / Sebastien Bourdais (France) : Formula 1, IndyCar & LeMans

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  1. V8 Supercars – Gold Coast 600 Celebrates 21 Years | Beyond The Red Line - July 28, 2011

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