THAT'S MY TEAM AT THE NITRO SUPERGP
The introduction of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport alongside the Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series to this year's Nitro SuperGP event will see more than 20 countries competing on the streets of Surfers Paradise in a first for the event.
To celebrate, event organisers are selecting 'ambassadors' for each team from the community to cheer on their team during and in the lead-up to the October 22-25 event.
The official Nitro SuperGP launch, to take place this Thursday at the Southport Surf Club, will kick off the program with Serginho van Dijk of the Brisbane Roar and Joey Wright, coach of the Gold Coast Blaze, to be in attendance as the ambassadors for A1 Team Netherlands and A1 Team USA respectively.
Nitro SuperGP General Manager Greg Hooton said the idea behind the ambassador program was to celebrate the many different nationalities which will be coming to the Gold Coast in October and racing in front of the fans.
"Never before have we had the chance for such a multicultural event with so many countries represented, and we wanted to celebrate that and involve as many people from the represented nationalities as possible," said Hooton.
"It is fantastic for us to be able to welcome Serginho and Joey as our first official ambassadors, representing the Dutch and American teams.
"Over the coming months we will be announcing ambassadors for the rest of the teams set to take to our streets, and I am looking forward to seeing an array of people from all walks of life throwing their personal support behind their selected team."
Pitting driver against driver and country against country for the first time in history, A1GP brings together more than 20 nations, representing 80 per cent of the world's population, to compete as equals, without financial or technological advantage.
Brisbane Roar Striker Serginho van Dijk was born in Assen and is of Dutch-Indonesian parentage. In 2008 he came within a goal of the Golden Boot award and is a commanding figure in the Brisbane Roar attack.
"I'm really enjoying my time here in Australia but Holland will always be home," said van Dijk.
"I'm very excited to be an ambassador for the Netherlands team and for my country.
"The team had a good run last season and hopefully on the Gold Coast they can secure a win."
Gold Coast Blaze head coach Joey Wright was born in Alton, Illnois and played with the Drake Bulldogs basketball squad during the 1986-87 NCAA season, before playing for the University of Texas' prestigious Longhorns basketball team before being selected in the second round as the 50th pick of the NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns.
He was appointed as the Brisbane Bullets' head coach midway through the 2002/2003 season and remained until the team ceased to exist in season 2008/09, during which time he led the team to great heights, including a 16-win improvement in the 2003/2004 season, successive finals appearances and a stellar 2006/2007 season featuring a minor premiership. He also boasts a 21 NBL game winning streak and was awarded the NBL Coach of the Year Award in 2004 and 2007.
"It is a great privilege to represent my country -- the USA -- at a world-class event like the Nitro SuperGP, set in a world-class stage like the Gold Coast," said Wright.
"Like the Nitro SuperGP, the Gold Coast Blaze has enjoyed a revamp for the 2009/2010 season, and will both be bigger and better than ever this year, so I am excited to be on board."