The V8 Supercar teams are starting to see their dance cards fill up as international racing stars have begun finding partners for this year’s Armor All 600 all-star event.
Today, Dale Coyne Racing’s Justin Wilson announced that he would partner with Greg Murphy at this year’s event, running the Pepsi Max machine fielded by Kelly Racing. Wilson has a vast motorsports resume, having competed in Formula 1, winning the F3000 title and claiming multiple race victories in Indy Car, including this year’s Firestone 550 in Texas.
But of all of the cars available to him, Wilson has yet to compete in the V8 Supercars, despite running alongside them for four seasons when the Indy Car series competed on the Surfers Paradise street course.
“It will be a tough challenge driving a V8 for the first time and I know the level of talent already racing in the series is extremely high, so my goals are to listen to Greg and the team and help them get the best finish possible,” Wilson said. “I've raced at the Gold Coast event four times before and I'm really looking forward to being part of it again. Surfers Paradise is a cool venue - there's such a fun atmosphere, loads of on-track action and the fans really love their racing. The track is also lot of fun for the drivers. It's high commitment, especially through the blind corners, and it's physically demanding too.”
Wilson joins fellow Indy Car stars Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud and Marco Andretti as drivers that have committed to competing in the October 20-21 event. The Gold Coast event takes place a month after the completion of the IZOD Indy Car Series season.
Kelly Racing has had a trying season in the #51 Pepsi Max Holden, primarily because of the absence of Murphy, who had to give up the seat in April to recover from back surgery. The surgery was necessitated after a crash in qualifying in the season opener at Adelaide , which left him with a ruptured disc in his lower back. He has recently been replaced by former F1 and Indy Car champ Jacques Villeneuve, who has struggled in the car in his latest outings.
Murphy will be aided in his charge by a co-driver that knows the tricky street track well, which the will be a key – since he hasn’t been in the car before.
"Justin has a pretty impressive list of achievements and has shown that he can transition easily between various forms of the sport,” Murphy said. "His knowledge of the circuit will without doubt be an advantage and with the testing opportunity for all the International drivers in advance of the race, I’m sure he will quickly come to grips with the car. I reckon I am bloody lucky to have a driver of Justin’s caliber to work with and I hope that we can put it all together for some strong results for the Pepsi Max Crew.”