As a wide-eyed youngster, Graham Rahal spent many years watching his father compete on the tricky Surfers Paradise street course before getting there in his own Indy Car in 2007.
Never one to shy away from a new challenge, Graham will do his father one better in Australia this year as he gets behind the wheel of a V8 Supercar for the first time at the Armor All Gold Coast 600.
Rahal will join Rick Kelly behind the wheel of the #15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodore at this year’s event, rounding out a Kelly Racing squadron that will see each of its drivers partner with some of the world’s top open-wheel racing talent.
“It’s awesome to have Graham join us for the Gold Coast race,” Kelly said. “Jack Daniel’s Racing has secured two of the biggest names in American racing, Andretti and Rahal, and I am confident Graham will do an outstanding job for us. I am sure he is going to enjoy his V8 Supercar debut.”
The New Albany, Ohio native has won races in nearly every series he ever competed in, and despite the fact that the Gold Coast race will be his first effort in the V8 Supercars, he told Motorsport.com that he has every intention of bringing home some hardware.
“I’m not doing this just to do it,” Rahal said. “I want to go down there and be competitive and I know that is exactly what the team is expecting of me as well. Obviously we are going to want to stay safe, but the goal is to go down there and win the race.
Rahal knows the storied circuit well, having competed there in 2007 and 2008 – which were the last two Indy Car events to take place at Surfers Paradise. This knowledge will allow him to focus on learning the car instead of having to learn the track layout as well, but Rahal expects to benefit greatly from a pre-event test session being held for the international contingent of drivers.
“We’re going down for a test day before the race. You have to do that if you are going to be competitive,” Rahal reported. “I don’t really have any expectations from the cars, I’ve seen them, and they’re cool cars and make for great racing, but I’m just looking forward to getting down there and doing some testing.”