TEAM AUSTRALIA LOOKING TO CONTINUE FORM The Aussie Vineyards-backed Team Australia operation heads into the heart of US wine country this weekend for the eighth round of the Champ Car World Series at the San Jose Grand Prix in California. The...
TEAM AUSTRALIA LOOKING TO CONTINUE FORM
The Aussie Vineyards-backed Team Australia operation heads into the heart of US wine country this weekend for the eighth round of the Champ Car World Series at the San Jose Grand Prix in California.
The team is really starting to find its feet at the mid-way point of the season with a couple of podium finishes and both cars in the top 10 at the last round in Edmonton Canada.
This weekend's race will take place on a newly-designed downtown street course over 2.56kms (1.6miles) with 11 turns in total.
Canadian Alex Tagliani, who will have his 99th Champ Car start this weekend, will lead the fight as he has done all season. The "Adopted" Australian currently sits seventh in the championship after registering a couple of podium finishes already and is just 11 points from fifth on the points table.
Young Aussie Marcus Marshall will return to the US today after a flying visiting back home to Australia when he was a part of Craig Gore's WPS V8 Supercar team as a spectator at the Queensland 300 last weekend.
Marshall has been on a tremendous learning curve in his debut Champ Car season and is looking to build on his first top-10 finish at the last round.
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY--..
"New street venues always provide plenty of challenges," said Tagliani.
"You can walk and drive the circuit in a road car, but it is not until you are out there that you can ever get a real feel for a track.
"I think the response to the last round in Edmonton was fantastic, especially for a brand new event.
"They have been promoting the new San Jose race very heavily and I think people in this part of the world really love their racing.
"There is a real confidence in Team Australia at the moment with a couple of podiums on the board and then both cars in the top 10 for the first time at the last race.
"I think the enthusiasm and dedication of the small group involved in this program is going to result in something special, but we have to keep going.
"Heading to a brand new race track should help us close the gap a little on the teams that arrive at some tracks with 10 years worth of data, but we are going to have to work for every spot we get.
"There is no reason why we should not be aiming for another podium result this weekend."
"We are coming off my best result after Edmonton and it would be great if we could continue the momentum," said Marshall.
"Obviously the San Jose race is a brand new venue, just like Edmonton, and it will be important for us to try and be on the pace a little quicker than we have been.
"This is also an important race from a business prospective for Aussie Vineyards and none of us have lost sight of that.
"It was nice to head home last weekend and be a part of the WPS team during the V8 Supercar round at Queensland Raceway, but I have to say that I don't make a very good spectator.
"I think the result in Edmonton got a monkey off my back and now its time to get on with the job."
"Going to a new venue always provides a unique set of challenges, which we have been preparing for all season," said Walker.
"To have both cars in the 10 was pleasing in Edmonton, but you always want and expect more.
"Alex is doing a great job for us as we try and build this team into a regularly competitive operation and I think the eighth place finish for Marcus in Edmonton was a good step forward for him.
"The key to this weekend is preparation and we have been doing as much homework as possible."
"I am certain the San Jose race really gives us a chance to promote the Aussie Vineyards brand in one of the major US wine markets," said Gore.
"There is a lot of business to be done in this part of the world for us and we will be taking advantage of every opportunity.
"It would be great if we could continue to back that up with strong results on the track.
"Alex has been doing a great job and Marcus took a terrific step forward with his first top 10 finish in the last round.
"This is the second new event in a row for the Champ Car series and all the statistics are pointing towards a tremendous growth for the sport.
"The crowds were above expectation in Edmonton and I think a similar result this weekend will make a lot of people sit up and take notice.
"In the meantime we continue to steam towards the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast which is shaping as an absolute cracker for everyone involved. It's hard to believe its less than 100 days away."
WHAT IS TEAM AUSTRALIA?
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.
The team will contest the championship with major sponsorship from Aussie Vineyards, a new Queensland company established by Gore and Fish to export Australian wine into the US market.
The pair is looking to use the program as a tool for other Australian businesses wanting to market their products and services into the US.