THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24:Â Former Honda Indy 300 winner Adrian Fernandez made his V8 Supercar debut today, driving Paul Morris' Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore around the Surfers Paradise street circuit. Fernandez drove the 600-horsepower Commodore...
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24: Former Honda Indy 300 winner Adrian Fernandez made his V8 Supercar debut today, driving Paul Morris' Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore around the Surfers Paradise street circuit.
Fernandez drove the 600-horsepower Commodore for two laps of the 4.5km track where he will return tomorrow behind the wheel of a Lola-Honda for the opening practice and qualifying sessions for the 17th round of the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Mexican was given a brief rundown on the Commodore's cockpit operations by Morris before driving onto the circuit, and said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
"I've been coming here many years to race and I've seen the V8s so it was good to have a chance to drive one," said Fernandez.
"Ideally I'd have liked some more laps because I had to get used to a lot of new things, but it was a challenge and by the end I was starting to carry more speed and I was cracking through the gears."
"These cars have plenty of power. They don't react quickly like the cars I usually drive, but you wouldn't expect them to."
"The V8s have a top series in Australia and it's good for the fans to have them and our cars together in Surfers."
Fernandez, who lives in Phoenix in the United States, won the Honda Indy 300 on the Gold Coast in 2000, on the way to finishing second in the CART series. He has a total of seven CART race victories.
Morris said he had been impressed with the way Fernandez quickly adapted to the V8 Supercar.
"He only needed a few corners before he was on the job, and you can see why he's one of the best at what he does," said Morris.
"I watched him going off the front straight into Turn Three, and he was spot-on with everything with his lines and corner exit."
Fernandez's drive in the Commodore will be a feature story in Network Ten's coverage of the Gold Coast meeting. The telecast will be from 11am-5pm on Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday.
Morris, whose V8 Supercar team is based on the Gold Coast, is familiar with many of the CART drivers and teams after driving in the United States in 1998 in the Indy Lites series.
Fernandez is the latest international motorsport star to drive a Paul Morris Motorsports Commodore, along with former 500cc motorcycle grand prix riders Mick Doohan, Kevin Schwantz, and Daryl Beattie.