Two 747 freight planes lands in Austin bring Aussie racing to the USA
More than 220,000 lbs of racecars and equipment valued in excess of $100 million has arrived from Australia in Texas in preparation for this weekend's inaugural Austin 400 at Circuit of The Americas.
The race cars and equipment arrived at the state-of-the-art circuit yesterday - also the home for the US Formula 1 Grand Prix.
This weekend's race will be the first US event for the Australian series which features 650 horsepower, rear-wheel-drive machines from Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz AMG and GM's Australian arm, Holden.
The Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, will become the sixth venue outside Australia to host the V8 Supercars Championship, following Pukekohe and Hamilton (New Zealand), Shanghai (China), Bahrain and the Yas Marina Circuit (Abu Dhabi).
The V8 Supercars Championship first raced outside of Australia at Pukekohe in 2001 and the Austin 400 will be the 22nd V8 Supercars Championship event to be held offshore.
The Austin 400 is the second international event in the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship following on from the ITM 400 Auckland at Pukekohe in mid-April.
V8 Supercars will use the shorter 2.4-mile at the Circuit of The Americas, rather than the full 3.4-mile 'Grand Prix' layout.
The circuit is the first purpose-built Grand Prix racetrack in the United States and was designed by Herman Tilke as the focal point of the 350-acre precinct.
It hosted Formula 1 in November last year and hosted MotoGP as recently as April 2013.
New liveries for Austin 400 weekend
Teams from the Australian V8 Supercar championship have taken the opportunity to display some new liveries for the Austin 400 this weekend - including some significant flag flying.
While the Holden Racing Team has elected to add the Australian flag to the rear of James Courtney and Garth Tander's Holden Commodores, Erebus Racing's Tim Slade will switch to a "stars and stripes" livery for his Mercedes Benz (pictured right).
Other livery updates for the Austin weekend will include the two Pepsi Max Crew Falcons for Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison carrying a special tribute to the Texan city across the roof of both cars.
A deal with the local Convention and Visitor's Bureau will see the Fords carrying the city of Austin's name, along with the tagline "Live Music Capital of the World".
Russell Ingall will also display a livery which will be familiar to NASCAR fans. Stanley Tools - the same brand seen on the NASCAR of Marcos Ambrose - will be featured on Ingall's Holden Commodore this weekend
HRT’s livery design also highlights the VF Commodore, which will be built by Holden Vehicle Operations in Adelaide, Australia - the same car which is to be badged and sold as the Chevrolet SS in the US later this year.
“V8 Supercars’ first visit to the US is an exciting time for HRT in being able to showcase Holden’s new VF Commodore to the market where it will soon go on sale badged as a Chevy,” Tander said.
“As Holden’s factory race team, we’re also proud to wave the Aussie flag and show what truly world class cars Holden is manufacturing in Australia.”
Busy trip for V8 Supercar stars
Factory visits, sky diving and baseball experiences for Aussie stars
The 28 drivers in the Australian V8 Supercar championship are certainly keeping busy in the lead-up to this weekend's Austin 400 at Circuit of The Americas.
All have taken the opportunity to get a taste of life in the US - some taking a vacation before or after this weekend's race and others heading straight to work.
Nissan Motorsport's Todd and Rick Kelly along with Michael Caruso took the opportunity to visit the home of Nissan in the US. They visited the Nissan Altima road car plant in Smyrna, TN yesterday; while the two Kelly boys also headed to the nearby Jack Daniels factory - sponsor of the No.7 and No.15 Nissans - the previous day.
With baseball being a minor sport in Australia, Irwin Racing's Lee Holdsworth hoped to get in plenty of practice this morning with the local Austin team, the Round Rock Express.
Holdsworth will throw out the first pitch tonight in Austin.
James Courtney, Tony D'Alberto, Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom will tried their hand at indoor sky diving in Austin yesterday while Will Davison, Holdsworth and David Wall will vististed automotive classes at Automotive Classes at Del Valle High School in Austin.