TEAM AUSTRALIA EXPANDS INTERESTS INTO MASSIVE NASCAR MARKET Team Australia has expanded its stable of global motorsport interests with a new partnership with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing which will include the naming-rights sponsorship of Marcos ...
TEAM AUSTRALIA EXPANDS INTERESTS INTO MASSIVE NASCAR MARKET
Team Australia has expanded its stable of global motorsport interests with a new partnership with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing which will include the naming-rights sponsorship of Marcos Ambrose's entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in North America.
Already the sponsor of two-car Champ Car, Atlantic and Formula BMW teams in the US, Team Australia will now have the chance to provide even greater business and marketing opportunities to its growing list of corporate partners.
The new sponsorship will be weaved into a nation-wide marketing campaign designed to promote quality Australian and Australian-themed products and Australia as a tourism destination.
The new green and gold Ford F-150 truck will carry Team Australia, Aussie Vineyards and RM Williams signage when it makes its debut in Charlotte, North Carolina tomorrow night.
Featured in the primary bonnet position of the #20 Truck is signage for the Aussie Experience -- a large-scale interactive tourism exhibit set to launch in North America in January 2007.
A mobile replica of the Sydney Opera House, the Aussie Experience will be making tour stops at some of America's largest spectator events over a two-year period in what will be one of the biggest Australian-themed marketing initiatives ever seen anywhere.
Queensland's Craig Gore, one of Australia's most progressive and recognizable entrepreneurs, is Chairman of Team Australia, and the driving force behind the push into North America.
Gore is also chairman of Aussie Vineyards, LLC, which is set to release its wines in the United States later this year under the Au, Torren's Title, and 12 Apostles labels.
"The goal of the Team Australia concept is to give the best and brightest Australians the opportunity to shine on the world motorsport stage," said Gore.
"Before we can do that we need to ensure we can continue to provide on-going sales opportunities for our partners in the US market in particular.
"The Team Australia concept lives or dies on the business we can create through it and I believe this latest venture will be tremendously rewarding for our current and future partners.
"There is no greater American sport than NASCAR and Marcos Ambrose is undoubtedly one of Australia's greatest exports to the US -- my own wine not withstanding.
"We have been working on a deal in NASCAR for sometime and the opportunity with Wood Brothers/JTG Motorsports really came from left field.
"The fact that Marcos is a driver for the team is a fantastic bonus and an ideal fit for our program."
Ambrose tested his truck for the first time in Team Australia colours today and is set to race in round six of the championship at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Friday night (Charlotte time).
Wood Brothers/JTG Racing's Tad Geschickter is expecting the exposure of NASCAR and the integration of the Team Australia concept with his team's highly-respected retail marketing programs to provide valuable results for all stakeholders.
"A long-time friend of mine was working on the Australian Experience concept for Craig (Gore) and he called me to see what opportunities there would be in NASCAR," said Geschickter.
"When I was told of the Team Australia concept, the development of a NASCAR racing program seemed to make a whole lot of sense. We have been developing our retail marketing programs for many years and they will work perfectly with the Aussie Vineyards and other products.
"The fact that we had signed Marcos as a driver obviously added to the deal."
Ambrose, 29, is the first native Australian to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Ambrose paid his dues to earn a chance to etch his name in NASCAR's record book, after winning two V8 Supercar Championships for Ford - regarded as the toughest touring car championship in the world.
Ambrose will now compete for the remainder of the 2006 season in the Craftsman Truck Series and is hoping to progress through the ranks to the NASCAR Busch Series and eventually NASCAR Nextel Cup.
"I am looking forward to competing against the best drivers on the biggest stage in motorsports," said Ambrose.
"Securing a major Australian sponsor for the team is an extraordinary accomplishment and I applaud Craig Gore's initiative and his investment in the Team Australia concept and Australian Motorsport.
"I am truly proud to be part of Team Australia's effort to promote Australia to our great friends and partners here in the US and around the world."
Team Australia also continues its Australian motorsport interests under the Wright Patton Shakespeare (WPS) banner in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Porsche Carrera Cup Series and the Aussie Race Car Championship.
CHARLOTTE TEST UPDATE
Team Australia's Marcos Ambrose completed a successful test day at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte today and has been given the "all clear" to run in tomorrow night's sixth round of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Ambrose completed 130 trouble-free laps on the fast Lowe's Motor Speedway in his Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford F-150 and finished the day mid-field on the time sheets.
As a rookie in the series, the former two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion was under the watchful eye of NASCAR officials, who needed to sign off an approval this afternoon for him to race on the 1.5-mile (2.4km) high-speed oval.
Ambrose highest average speed was 174mph (278km), with a top speed well over 300kph -- the fastest he has ever been in a race car.
"It was a really solid day today. You cannot help but learn an enormous amount at test days like today," said Ambrose.
"Today was to demonstrate we are safe out there on the race track. I felt comfortable, despite the fact that Lowe's Motor Speedway is the fastest track I have driven on.
"We made some great progress throughout the day and think we probably could have gone a bit faster if the rain had not cut the session short by a couple of hours."
There are 41 trucks entered for tomorrow nights race, but only 36 will be given the green light to start after tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session.
Ambrose is an automatic starter because he is currently in the top 30 on the series' points table.