POWER AIMS TO END CHAMP CAR ERA WITH VICTORY Will Power is aiming to get a third Champ Car win as the Australian participates in the historic final Champ Car race in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at the famous seaside beach circuit in...
POWER AIMS TO END CHAMP CAR ERA WITH VICTORY
Will Power is aiming to get a third Champ Car win as the Australian participates in the historic final Champ Car race in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at the famous seaside beach circuit in Long Beach, California this weekend.
This will be Power's 31st and final Champ Car start, all of which have come under the Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia banner. Power has two IndyCar Series starts to his name so far this season with a best result of eighth at St Petersburg, Florida after qualifying second two weeks ago.
Champ Car, formerly known as CART, was formed as a sanctioning body for US open-wheel racing in 1979. With the recent merger of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, this weekend's event in Long Beach will be the final staged under the Champ Car banner.
The lateness of the merger created a unique one-off 'double' race weekend for Round 3 of the newly unified 2008 IndyCar Series, with existing IndyCar Series teams racing their Dallara IndyCars at the oval in Motegi, Japan while the Champ Car teams will run their 2007-spec DP01 Champ Cars on the streets of Long Beach on the same weekend.
The historic event will be remembered for some time, with 20 cars entered for the race. Power is keen to post the win not only to make history by winning the final Champ Car event, but also to score maximum points torwards the 2008 IndyCar Series standings, as both the Long Beach and Motegi events will count for full IndyCar Series points.
Last season Power qualified second at Long Beach on his way to third place, one of five podiums for the Toowoomba-born driver in 2007. Power is now looking to etch his name into history as the winner of the 34th Long Beach event and the final winner in Champ Car.
Power has what it takes to win on street circuits, with two street circuit wins in Champ Car last season at Las Vegas and Toronto, as well as qualifying second in only his second IndyCar Series event a fortnight ago on the St Petersburg street circuit.
Power will be joined by regular KV Racing Technology team-mate Oriol Servia at Long Beach, as well as team co-owner and 1996 Champ Cap champion Jimmy Vasser, who will make a one-off appearance in a third KVRT car at Long Beach.
WHAT THE TEAM HAD TO SAY --
Will Power - #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia DP01
"I am looking forward to the Long Beach race," said Power.
"It will be the last time I get to drive a Champ Car, but it will be for IndyCar Series points. This race presents KVRT Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia with a fantastic chance to get points and go for a win.
"I like the circuit. It is very tough to get any advantage over other drivers, which is why qualifying is so important. I think it will be a very competitive race and I would love to improve my performance over last year."
Craig Gore - Team Australia
"It's going to be a great weekend in Long Beach and I can't think of a better way for Team Australia to say goodbye the Champ Car than with a win," said Gore.
"The future is bright now that everyone is back on the same page and we have one series. Long Beach is a terrific event and right up there with our home race in Surfers in terms of being a famous, challenging street circuit that has a real festive atmosphere.
"Not only would it be nice for Will to get the final Champ Car victory, but this weekend presents us with a golden opportunity to get a jump in the points standings. After playing catch-up for the past month, we are back at a circuit we know in a car we know, the DP01 Champ Car.
"Will is really focused on the IndyCar Rookie of the Year title this year so the points situation is always something to keep an eye on. It's going to be a great race and the #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia car is certainly going to be one of the cars to watch."