POWER LOOKING TO REPEAT HISTORY THIS YEAR AT INDIANAPOLIS
Will Power is looking to repeat Australian motor racing history as he embarks the 92nd Indianapolis 500 with Rookie Orientation practice beginning this Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
If Power can qualify for this month's race, he stands a chance of becoming only the second Australian to win the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award.
Power will turn his first laps at the famed speedway on Sunday May 4 with 12 other rookie contenders, with practice for all IndyCar drivers and teams commencing on Tuesday May 6.
With 40 entries vying for 33 starting positions in the event known as 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing', Power's immediate objective is to qualify for his Indy 500 debut, with the race to be held on May 25.
If Power is able to secure a starting spot for the 200-lap race, he will become the fifth Australian to race in the Indianapolis 500, held since 1911 at the 2.5-mile oval known as 'The Brickyard' after the original circuit was surfaced with bricks. Now, a single yard to bricks forms the start-finish line on the front straight.
Australians Sir Jack Brabham, Vern Schuppan, Geoff Brabham and Ryan Briscoe have all raced in the Indianapolis 500, with Schuppan recording the best finish of an Aussie so far with third place in 1981.
Schuppan, originally from the town of Whyalla in South Australia, is the only Australian to win the coveted Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Award. Schuppan, who won the Le Mans 24 Hour in 1983, won top rookie honours in 1976 driving the #9 Jorgensen Eagle, a feat Power would dearly love to emulate this May.
Power is coming to grips with oval racing since joining the IndyCar Series at the start of the season from Champ Car, but still only has three oval race starts to his name.
With 15 days of on-track activity before this year's Indianapolis 500, Power and his crew will have significant track time to tune and learn the #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone around the fast oval circuit over the course of May.
WHAT THE TEAM HAD TO SAY --
Will Power - #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone
"This is such a big event and it's great to be a part of it," said Power.
"It's a full month of activity, so with so much track time we will really get time to do some serious development for ovals.
"The whole team is looking forward to really getting down to business and working hard at Indy. It's going to be a really exciting experience.
"It's still very early in the month and we haven't even hit the track yet, but the rookie award is something I'd like to think we have in the back of our mind.
"I watched the race back in 2006 and as a spectacle is one of the biggest sporting events I've ever seen. It's going to be amazing to be a part of it, so obviously our first goal is to qualify for the race.
"We haven't finished either of the two oval races so far, so we are really focussing on qualifying for the race and then finishing the car. If things came together and went our way in the race and we could win the Rookie of the Year Award, it would certainly be one the best days of my life.
"But that's a long way away so the priority is to just get up to speed, learn the ropes and take things as they come at this stage."
Craig Gore - Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia
"It's really exciting to be on the verge of Team Australia's first Indianapolis 500," said Gore.
"The month of May is unique in the world of motorsport. It's going to be great to have Will driving the Aussie Vineyards car throughout the month of May at one of the world's most famous racing venues.
"Not many Australians have raced at Indianapolis, so it is going to be something extra special to have Will there flying the flag for Aussie Vineyards. I know that Australian fans will be right behind him every step of the way."
-credit: team australia/kvt