CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Team Australia preview

TAGLIANI TARGETS TOP FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP RESULT Team Australia's Alex Tagliani will aim to keep himself in line for a top-five championship spot with a strong result in this weekend's Hurricane Relief Champ Car 400 at the Las Vegas Motor ...


Team Australia's Alex Tagliani will aim to keep himself in line for a top-five championship spot with a strong result in this weekend's Hurricane Relief Champ Car 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Tagliani currently sits seventh in the points standings in his Aussie Vineyards Lola, but is just 12 points off fifth place, which is currently held by American AJ Allmendinger, with four rounds remaining.

Tagliani returned to his home in Las Vegas last week, after an eight-day visit to Australia, which involved sharing a V8 Supercar at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 with his regular Team Australia Champ Car team mate Marcus Marshall.

Tagliani was also involved in some pre-promotion for the Lexmark Indy 300 which will be held on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia on October 20-23. This included doing some expert commentary to about 50,000 spectators who turned out to watch Marshall drive his Champ Car through the streets of Brisbane.

"Tags" will be out to improve on his only other oval run for the season at Milwaukee back in June when he started 11th and battled with his car all day before finishing 10th.

Tagliani is coming off his fourth top five and seventh top ten result of the 2005 Champ Car World Series after he finished fifth in the Molson Indy Montreal last month.

This year's Las Vegas race will again be run under lights, but it is new "push to pass" rules which Tagliani believes will make this weekend's race one of the most exciting of the year.

Each time a driver uses his push to pass button it will stay activated for 10 seconds and each driver will be able to use it six times during the 166-lap race.

Marshall will again be behind the wheel of the #15 Aussie Vineyards Lola this weekend for what will be only his second ever oval experience. His first came at the Milwaukee Mile where he qualified 15th and finished 13th.



"I think we are for an exciting weekend," said Tagliani. "The new push to pass procedures are certainly going to add a lot to the race, because you are basically going to have cars passing other cars every time they use the button. That means we should have 18 cars at least doing six passes in the races so that's more than 100 passes before you think about anything else.

"You are definitely going to need some push to pass towards the end of the race, but it will also be important to stay with the leading group of cars who will be doing a lot of drafting.

"The big challenge will be trying to reduce the drag in the car and I know a lot of teams have been taking a different approach to this and our guys have been working very hard to try and give us an edge.

"The race has the makings of being one of the most exciting of the year and I think the Vegas fans are in for a real treat."


"This is an absolutely new circuit for me and my second every attempt at an oval in any sort of car," said Marshall. "While saying that I do have the experience from Milwaukee earlier in the year under my belt and I am confident we can put together a solid result.

"I have been at the workshop each day since returning back from Australia last week and the guys have done a hell of a lot of work in preparation for the Vegas event.

"We are going to the track with no data from the Lola chassis, but the team has done everything it can to reduce some of those differences.

"With the effort that has gone in from this end, it would be disappointing if we did not make something of it."


"This weekend we certainly face one of our tougher challenges of the season," said Walker. "Las Vegas is one of only two ovals for the season and it is so much different to Milwaukee where we ran back in June.

"We are also going to the track for the first time with the Lola chassis and we have been working overtime to ensure we close the gap on the opposition.

"Our results this season have given us a fresh goal of having Alex (Tagliani) finish in the top five of the championship and I think that can certainly be achieved, but we need to keep scoring decent points."


"Both Alex and Marcus did a solid job for us in the Sandown 500 in Melbourne last week and it would be good for them to continue that momentum into Vegas," said Gore.

"Team Australia and Aussie Vineyards obviously see Las Vegas as another important market for us in the future and it would great to make an impression in our first visit there.

"Derrick tells me that the team has been working around the clock to ensure we have two competitive cars on only the second and final oval of the season.

"We still have our sights set on Alex finishing in the top five of the championship and we need solid results in the final rounds to achieve that.

"A strong result at the weekend would provide a perfect foundation for us heading into the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast next month."


Team Australia is a multi-levelled motorsport program created to provide career paths for talented young motorsport professionals while at the same time being a valuable marketing tool for companies wanting to take their products and brands to the world.

Already the program has attracted support from fantastic brands such as VISA, Qantas, the RM Williams clothing company and WPS Financial Services.

Aussie Vineyards is a newly-created wine export company which is using the naming rights of Team Australia Champ Car program to create brand awareness for its impending venture into the lucrative US wine market.

Australia will again play host to the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 20-23. This year will be the first year in the event's history that a full-time Australian team will compete for glory on home soil.

Team Australia is a new Champ Car entry created for 2005 by veteran team owner Derrick Walker and Australian businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish.

From 2006 Team Australia will include two cars in each of the following categories of racing - Champ Car World Series, V8 Supercar Championship Series, Porsche Carrera Cup, Champ Car Atlantics Series, Aussie Race Car Series and the US Formula BMW Series.

The Team Australia program provides the unique opportunity for companies to form relationships with talented young drivers at an early age and maintain their association until they have reached the peak of their sport -- maximising their investment.

-team australia-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Marcus Marshall
Teams Williams