INDYCAR DRIVERS BUSY DURING FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE NIKON INDY 300
IndyCar Series drivers have been busy during the final day of preparations ahead of the Nikon Indy 300 which fires into action on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia tomorrow.
While some drivers headed to the beach others tried their hand at driving at the V8 Off Road Buggy Experience before they all converged on the 4.47km street circuit for a track walk with their race engineers.
A selection of drivers joined with their Australian V8 Supercar counterparts and the Bartercard Miss Indy finalists in the traditional Beach Volleyball competition on the Surfers Paradise beach this morning.
Oriol Servia, who will fly the Team Australia flag alongside Queenslander Will Power for the KV Racing Technology team this weekend, was one of the keen participants in the activity.
"The Gold Coast Event is certainly a highlight on any IndyCar drivers schedule, I've been here on a number of occasions and everytime it has been a huge amount of fun," said Servia.
"Once again today's volleyball game was enjoyable but the serious stuff starts once we get on track."
As the volleyball was being contested on the beach former winner of the Nikon Indy 300, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was joined by Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter and AJ Foyt IV in an off road experience with a difference just North of the Gold Coast at the V8 Off Road Buggy facility.
The trio put the V8-powered machines through their paces before being joined by Hunter-Reay's partner, Beccy Gordon -- a regular competitor on the American Off Road secene -- behind the wheel.
During the day Hunter-Reay and Gordon, the sister of NASCAR star and former IndyCar driver Robby Gordon, shared their experiences of competing in the famous Off Road event, the Baja 1000, with the Vision Racing pair and the staff at the complex.
Hunter-Reay thoroughly enjoyed the Off Road experience and after spending the past week relaxing on Hayman Island is keen to get behind the wheel of his ethanol-backed IndyCar on the Gold Coast.
"In my mind there is no doubt that behind the Indianapolis 500, this Event is the marquee Event on the schedule, whether it is for championship points or not it doesn't really matter -- we all want to come here and win!" said Hunter-Reay.
"I just love coming down here, the Event has a great atmosphere about it. I just hope that the IndyCar Series and the Event organisers can work a business deal out to make sure we continue to come here for many years to come.
"Every year that I've been here I've been lucky enough to do some pretty cool things. The Off Road V8 experience today was impressive, the cars had a fair bit of power and went pretty hard -- I really enjoyed it."
Just prior to the track walk with their race engineers Mario Moraes and Vitor Meira took time out to visit the Kids Under Cover, an official charity of the Nikon Indy 300, Bungalow trackside this afternoon.
Kids Under Cover raises the funds necessary to build bungalows and provide scholarships for at risk young people, as they believe every young person has the right to a safe and secure home and a sound education.
Bungalow accommodation also acts as a preventative measure, by allowing children to remain with carers even when the living conditions in the main house may be difficult.
Gold Coast teenagers 14 year old Faith and 12 year old Taylor showed off a Bungalow to Moraes and Meira today.
With 96 hours of non-stop excitement over October 23-26 as the Gold Coast comes alive to the sound of the IndyCar Series burning up the track and Australia's own V8 Supercars scorching around one of the most famous beach-side cities in the world, the event is the hottest ticket in town.