CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Australia signs third driver

TEAM AUSTRALIA SIGNS WILL POWER Team Australia has announced that it will campaign three cars in next week's Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Queensland's Gold Coast -- the 12th round of the this year's Champ Car World Series. The team's ...

TEAM AUSTRALIA SIGNS WILL POWER

Team Australia has announced that it will campaign three cars in next week's Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Queensland's Gold Coast -- the 12th round of the this year's Champ Car World Series.

The team's third car will be driven by Toowoomba native Will Power, who has impressed many critics recently with his performances in European-based open-wheel racing.

Power has been signed to a three-year deal with Team Australia and will join Gold Coaster Marcus Marshall and Canadian Alex Tagliani as part of the Green and Gold machine in Surfers Paradise next week.

Team Australia will campaign a Ford-powered Lola for Power which has been put together at the team's base in Indianapolis under the watchful eye of team co-owner Derrick Walker.

Team Australia co-owner and Queensland businessman Craig Gore says that he is delighted to welcome Power to Team Australia, which is set to be the focus of next week's Queensland event.

"We have been toying with the idea of running three cars at the Lexmark Indy 300 for sometime and when Will made himself available we jumped at the chance. We have extended that further by securing him to a three-year contract," said Gore.

"Will has had the opportunity to test with us and has done an impressive job. It is great that we not only have an Australian in a third car, but to have a Queenslander is a bonus.

"This is the next step in our on-going journey to help Australians to the highest level of motorsport."

Walker, who is one of the most experienced team owner/managers in the business, has been very impressed with Power's ability behind the wheel of a Champ Car.

"All the early indications are that Will could be a very competitive driver in the Champ Car series," said Walker.

"He certainly has the pace and is professional in the way he approaches his racing.

"I am sure Will be a positive edition to our team and I am looking forward to seeing him make his debut on the streets of the Gold Coast."

Making your Champ Car debut on the challenging Surfers Paradise street circuit would be daunting for any driver, but Power's record at the venue is already impressive.

He took the pole for both Formula Ford support races in 2000 and then set a lap record on his way to winning race one before finishing fourth in race two after gearbox failure.

The following year he was invited to be a part of the Honda Young Guns program in which he took the pole and won race one before finishing second in race two.

In 2002 he competed in the Formula 3 support events and again took pole before having a clean sweep in the two support races.

"Team Australia is an exciting concept and I look forward to a long-term relationship with Craig Gore, John Fish and Derrick Walker," said Power.

"The Champ Car World Series is one of the most exciting categories of racing in the world and I am excited about being a part of it with Team Australia. I got a real taste for the Gold Coast event when I competed in the Honda Young Guns event in 2001 and to finally get an opportunity in an Australian-owned and branded team is something I am going to be proud of.

"To make my debut on the Gold Coast is also going to be a fantastic experience and it would be terrific if we could have similar or better success than David Besnard did last year when he finished seventh in his one and only Champ Car race."

In 2003 Power moved to Europe and drove in the British Formula 3 Championship with both Diamond Racing and Fortec Motorsport.

Last season he took five podium finishes in 12 meetings with the Australian-owned Alan Docking Racing team and was also provided an F1 test with Minardi, where he was the fastest of the three drivers who tested.

This season Power has been competing in the World Series by Renault Championship in Europe with Carlin Motorsport, where in his first test of the season in Barcelona he topped the time sheets and beat the 2004 pole time by a second.

He currently sits sixth in the Renault championship, but will miss the final round at Monza in Italy next week because of his Australian commitments.

-team australia-

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Series INDYCAR