Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. IZOD IndyCar Series stars head down under for race
2. Pro golfer Recari wins, credits visit to IZOD IndyCar race
3. Newman Haas Racing launches microsite for business development
4. Star Mazda champ Daly to test Firestone Indy Lights car
1. IZOD IndyCar Series stars head down under for race: Helio Castroneves has one goal in his guest appearance at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 - finish as the top IZOD IndyCar Series driver.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is one of the six IZOD IndyCar Series stars in serving as an International co-driver in the Surfers Paradise V8 Supercars race and he is keen to be the best of the bunch.
"When you have 18 guys, I'm sure they'll all want to be the best - I do too," he told Speedcafe.com.au in advance of the race. "For me, I'm looking out more for the IndyCar drivers. There's six of us in total here, and that's what I'm looking at - trying to at least be better than those guys.
"They should have a trophy for the best of the IndyCar drivers!"
The other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers that Castroneves is aiming to beat are three-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti (Jim Beam Racing), Ryan Briscoe (Toll Holden Racing Team), Alex Tagliani (Kelly Racing), Scott Dixon (Jack Daniels Racing) and Will Power (Ford Performance Racing).
Castroneves' two Team Penske teammates will draw much of the attention this weekend as they race in their home country. For Briscoe, it's a chance to defend his 2008 IndyCar win. For Power it's another chance to gain redemption at a track where he has won poles, but never finished on the podium.
Franchitti, who claimed his third series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this month, is looking forward to competing in the event.
"The Gold Coast event is one of the most special in world motorsports and to have the chance to go back down there and race - in no less than a V8 Supercar - is going to be something pretty special," he said.
2. Pro golfer Recari wins, credits visit to IZOD IndyCar race: LPGA rookie Beatriz Recari scored her first LPGA victory on Oct. 17 and credited her recent visit to the IZOD IndyCar Series race near her home in Miami for helping her get through the pressure-packed final holes.
The Spanish golfer visited the track as part of a "driving experience" with IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal and racing legend Mario Andretti She credited a trip around Homestead Miami Speedway on Oct. 2 with Andretti for helping her stay calm before the winning putt on 18.
"That was a great experience because I had some much adrenaline, and then I just felt so calm when I was standing on the putt," Recari said. "That was fun for me ... but this is my job and I still have to keep it fun and focused."
3. Newman Haas Racing launches microsite for business development: Phoenicia Sport and Entertainment announced that it is assisting IZOD IndyCar Series entrant Newman/Haas Racing in their digital re-launch and expansion and outreach for new partners via the creation of an integrated business development platform that will involve an IZOD IndyCar Series industry, first multi-tiered business development microsite (www.newmanhaasdelivers.com) for all current and new business partners to use as a resource for their business development.
The first step in the re-launch of the brand is the official unveiling of a new micro site, www.newmanhaasdelivers.com, which went live on Oct.15. The site tells the story of Newman/Haas Racing) through its partners, its Championship drivers, its technology-breakthroughs over the years and will give a window into the value of racing and the 360-degree engagement opportunities at a value-entry point for corporate partners.
"The Newman/Haas Racing brand has always been one with a very high standard of excellence, and we feel Chris and his team are the right ones to help us grow at this critical time, not just for us but for all of motorsports," said Carl Haas, co-founder of Newman/Haas Racing. "There are many people who enjoy racing and all its elements but may not understand the opportunities that exist today. This will help us engage and identify those people and take a big step forward in our growth for the future."
4. Star Mazda champ Daly to test Firestone Indy Lights car: Conor Daly, who claimed the 2010 championship of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, will utilize part of his career-enhancing prize package on Oct. 28 in Sebring, Fla., when he climbs into the seat of an Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights car to begin a day of intensive testing to help prepare him for his next step up the open-wheel ladder.
The test, made possible by Performance Friction, is part of a previously-announced expansion of the Indy Racing League's 'Road to Indy' program in which the 2009 and 2010 Star Mazda series champion is guaranteed a test with a top Firestone Indy Lights team.
"I'm really looking forward to the test and expect to learn a lot," said Daly, the son of former Indy car and Formula One racer Derek Daly. "Anytime a driver has the chance to get in a car with more horsepower, more downforce and more speed, it's both a pleasure and an opportunity. I'd like to thank Star Mazda, Performance Friction and Andersen Racing for all the effort they're making to help me take my career to the next level."
Daly's Indy Lights test is one element of a comprehensive package of cash and prizes valued at more than $1.5 million for which drivers in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship were competing.
"Our goal has always been to provide our drivers with the most competitive, cost-effective and comprehensive opportunity to advance their careers," said Star Mazda Championship founder and CEO Gary Rodrigues. "Conor is obviously a superb open-wheel racer destined to rise to the top of the sport and we're happy to help him take the next step. This test is made possible by Performance Friction Company and Andersen Racing, and we'd like to thank them for their support."
The Andersen team expects Daly to run 150 test miles during the day. 2010 Andersen Racing Star Mazda drivers Tristan Vautier and Nick Andries will also test the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars at Sebring.
"With Andersen Racing's involvement in all steps on the Road to Indy ladder, we are delighted to work with Performance Friction and Star Mazda in providing Conor with a full-scale Indy Lights test," says Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "My long term relationship with the folks at PFC, coupled with our involvement in and support of the Star Mazda Championship for the past seven years, makes this an easy decision. So many Star Mazda drivers in recent years have successfully transitioned into Indy Lights, and now with the support of PFC, more drivers can sample the next step properly. We look forward to seeing what Conor can do at the wheel of one of our cars at Sebring."
Two drivers who competed for Andersen Racing in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship will also test Indy Lights cars at Sebring. French racer Tristan Vautier (right), a veteran of several European open-wheel series, won two Star Mazda races this season and finished 5th in the championship. Nick Andries, who made his Star Mazda debut at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, ran nine of 13 races, finished in the top-10 four times, including a 6th-place finish in the season-ending race at Road Atlanta. And, competing in the Skip Barber Pro Series concurrently with his Star Mazda effort, he won the season finale at Road Atlanta and finished 6th in that championship.