CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Australia preview

GREEN AND GOLD TO FLY ON HOME SOIL After a season-long wait the newly formed Aussie Vineyards Team Australia Champ Car team will be flying the green and gold in its home event at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast, Queensland...

GREEN AND GOLD TO FLY ON HOME SOIL

After a season-long wait the newly formed Aussie Vineyards Team Australia Champ Car team will be flying the green and gold in its home event at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast, Queensland this weekend.

For the first time since it debuted in the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Long Beach earlier this year, Team Australia will field a three-car assault during its home event with Toowoomba's Will Power joining fellow Queenslander Marcus Marshall and Canadian Alex Tagliani behind the wheel of an Aussie Vineyards-backed Lola.

Tagliani has previously finished on the podium in the Gold Coast event finishing third in 2001 and both Marshall and Power have also tasted success on the 4.47km (2.795 mile) circuit aboard a Formula 3 during 2004 and 2002 respectively. Power also won the Formula Ford support category in 2000.

This weekend's event is the first time that both Australians will compete on the streets of Surfers Paradise aboard an Aussie Vineyards Lola Champ Car.

With a pair of top ten finishes from Tagliani (7th) and Marshall (9th) in the previous round of the Championship in Las Vegas, the team's confidence is at high and is hopeful of a good result in front of a home crowd this weekend.

The team has already finished on the podium twice this year with Tagliani, who is an "adopted' Australian after marrying former Miss Indy runner-up Bronte Kok, finishing third in both Monterrey Mexico and Toronto, Canada.

The first podium came in the second round of the season and was the first time that an Australian-owned team had finished in the top three of major international open-wheel racing since Jack Brabham in F1 in the 1960s.

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY--..

ALEX TAGLIANI - #15 AUSSIE VINEYARDS LOLA

"I have been waiting for this event all year, I am very excited about the prospect of racing in front of the home town support for the Aussie Vineyards team.

"All year the momentum has been building within the team with this race in mind. Last race both myself and Marcus had a good run to finish inside the top ten, hopefully we can go a little bit higher this weekend for our local team owners Craig Gore and John Fish.

"I have finished on the podium back in 2001, I really enjoy the circuit which is definitely one of the best and most challenging in the Championship."

MARCUS MARSHALL - #5 AUSSIE VINEYARDS LOLA

"Since making my Champ Car debut at the start of the season there is one event I have been aiming towards all year, this one!

"All year I have been racing on circuits where I haven't raced any type of car on before but by racing on the Surfers Paradise street circuit before in other categories I can now put some of my local track knowledge into place which will hopefully aid me to gain my best result for the year.

"Growing up on the Gold Coast you get excited when the Champ Cars come to town but to actually be a part of the Champ Car race is a dream come true. I am confident that the Aussie Vineyards team can do our Australian supporters proud this weekend."

WILL POWER - #25 AUSSIE VINEYARDS LOLA

"What an amazing few weeks. To get the opportunity to test a Champ Car is one thing but to then be given the opportunity to race one in your home event is simply amazing.

"As a Queenslander the Indy carnival is an institution, I'm still pinching myself that I will be driving for Team Australia in my home event.

"I can't wait to get onto the track on Friday and am excited about all the support from all of our fans throughout the weekend.

"I have won here in a Formula Ford and Formula 3 before so I know the track quite well but the aim for the weekend will be to get as much experience as I can behind the wheel of the Aussie Vineyards Lola and get to the finish of the race."

DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA

"Events will not come any bigger for us than this weekend.

"We need to enjoy all the things that go with that, but also keep our mind on why we are here.

"I have no doubt that all three drivers would like to produce something special this weekend and if things fall our way we might just do that.

"The support we are experiencing in just the short time we have been here is incredible.

"It is going to be important for all our drivers to get as much track time as possible and that means keeping the things off the walls, which is always a a big task on such a demanding street course."

CRAIG GORE - CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA

"Well the time has come.

"I think this weekend is going to be proud moment for so many people who have been a part of this program.

"We now have three very capable drivers who all have the chance to do us and the green and gold colours of Australia proud.

"Sure this is about business, but it is also about Queensland, Australia and being a part of something great.

"It is about providing opportunities across a broad range of professions for young Australians.

"I can tell you there was few prouder moments in my life than when I was standing on the grid at last year's event hearing the national anthem being played and having a car and driver sitting there representing you and your country.

"This year we are going to have three of them -- how cool is that going to be?

"I guess the only thing cooler is knowing that you have been the catalyst and reason for it happening and that your country is the benefactor. "Fishy (co-owner John Fish) and I talk about that a lot and I don't think there is anything we will ever do that will be cooler than that."

WHAT IS AUSSIE VINEYARDS/TEAM AUSTRALIA?
Team Australia is a multi-levelled motorsport program created to provide career paths for talented young motorsport professionals while at the same time being a valuable marketing tool for companies wanting to take their products and brands to the world.

In 2006 the program will incorporate six different categories in eight different countries on four different continents and will involve a total investment of more than $US20 million. The total program will be exposed to a live audience of 10 million fans, a TV viewing audience of more than 420 million and produce a minimum of between five and six hours of branded viewing.

Already the program has attracted support from fantastic brands such as VISA, Qantas, the RM Williams clothing company and WPS Financial Services.

Aussie Vineyards is a newly-created wine export company which is using the naming rights of Team Australia Champ Car program to create brand awareness for its impending venture into the lucrative US wine market.

From 2006 Team Australia will include two cars in each of the following categories of racing - Champ Car World Series, V8 Supercar Championship Series, Porsche Carrera Cup, Champ Car Atlantics Series, Aussie Race Car Series and the US Formula BMW Series.

The Team Australia program provides the unique opportunity for companies to form relationships with talented young drivers at an early age and maintain their association until they have reached the peak of their sport -- maximizing their investment.

SCHEDULE - AUSTRALIAN TIME
Practice 1: Friday October 21, 10:00 -- 11:15am
Qualifying 1: Friday October 21, 1:45 -- 2:45pm

Practice 2: Saturday October 22, 10:15 -- 11:15am
Qualifying 2: Saturday October 22, 1:45 -- 2:45pm

Warm-Up: Sunday October 23, 9:15 -- 9:45am
Race: Sunday October 23, 1:15pm -- 57 laps

-team australia-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Jack Brabham , Marcus Marshall , Will Power
Teams Williams