The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle has fallen into place for the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar race on October 21-23. We take a look at the full international driver line up to see whether it’s worth the trip to the Goldy or not.
Brazilian double CART champion Gil de Ferran will make a surprise appearance at the Gold Coast 600 after replacing the previously booked in former F1 driver Lucas di Grassi. The idea of the 600 is that the regular V8 Supercar drivers pair up with an international driver to spice up the race – the initiative coming in after the IndyCar Series cancelled its round at Surfers Paradise. de Ferran isn’t the only well qualified international in the field though. This is who else you should expect to see:
Dan Wheldon (England – HRT)
Former IndyCar champion, current Indy 500 winner and former F1 test driver. This guy know how to pedal a tintop.
Ryan Briscoe (Australia – HRT)
Current IndyCar driver for the famous Penske team. Former Toyota F1 test driver. Hails from Sydney and has driven V8s before, including Bathurst.
Tonio Liuzzi (Italy – Wilson Security)
The only current F1 driver to race at Surfers. Usually pedals an HRT F1 car… very slowly. It’s been a while since he last tasted tintop racing.
Marc Lieb (Germany – Irwin Racing)
Current Porsche factory driver and former LeMans winner in the GT2 class. Largely unkown but knows what to do with a race car sporting doors.
Will Power (Australia – FPR)
A favourite for sure, runner up in the IndyCar championship last year with Penske Racing and holds the same position this year with one round to go. Has also tested F1 with Minardi.
Mika Salo (Finland – FPR)
The cool Finn most famously raced for Ferrari in F1 when Michael Schumacher broke his leg in 1999. Never won a race but came close. Has raced in CART as well.
Richard Westbrook (England – Jack Daniels)
A Porsche specialist who has won the Porsche International Supercup.
Stephane Sarrazin (France – Team BOC)
Forget Kimi Raikkonen, Sarrazin not only raced in F1 and World Rally, he was actually good at both. OK, he only made one start in F1, but managed to out-qualify and out-race his team mate, former Williams driver Marc Gene when he did. Then he scored points for the Subaru World Rally team. This guy is seriously good. Has won Le Mans as well.
Emanuele Pirro (Italy – SP Tools Racing)
The Audi LeMans driver and former F1 racer may be getting on in age but he still has serious speed and a hell of a lot of experience.
Oliver Gavin (England – Pepsi Max Crew)
Famously drove the F1 safety car back in the late 90s but now races in the LeMans series.
Gianni Morbidelli (Italy – Triple F Racing)
Former F1 driver who has devoted his recent career to tintops – could be surprisingly quick.
Tony Kanaan (Brazil – Jana Living Racing)
The popular Brazilian is back. Former Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion in 2004. Looks a bit like Vin Diesel.
Jorg Bergmeister (Germany – Jack Daniels)
Drives in the American LeMans Series. His father owns the shop where Michael Schumacher learned mechanics back in the 80s. That will make no difference to his speed…
Alex Tagliani (Canada – Stratco Racing)
The cool Canadian married to an Australian returns to V8s. He’s a current IndyCar driver and has had more than a few races down under.
Dirk Muller (Germany – Jim Beam Racing)
A tintop star for BMW, but usually in 2-litre super tourers. The V8s will be a challenge but he has the experience.
Joey Hand (USA – Jim Beam Racing)
Not a huge background but winning this years 24 Hours of Daytona is a good start.
Gil de Ferran (Brazil – Mother Enegery Racing Team)
Immensely popular two-time IndyCar Series winner for Penske Racing. Hasn’t been racing a lot lately and tiptops aren’t his speciality. Could be interesting.
Fabrizio Giovanardi (Italy – Fair Dinkum Shed Racing)
Has won the British Touring Car Championship, European Touring Car Championship and raced in V8s before for Team Vodafone. He should be bloody awesome.
Marino Franchitti (Scotland – Gulf Western Oil Racing)
Brother to Dario who is a massive thorn in the side of Will Power in the IndyCar Series. Hasn’t done a lot of racing lately so it’s anyones guess how he will go.
Simon Pagenaud (France – Fujitsu GRM)
LeMans Series driver, former IndyCar driver and CART Series driver. Likes his open-wheelers but could prove lethal on the Coast.
Augustus Farfus Jr (Brazil – Fujitsu GRM)
Watch this kid. Great in the European Touring Car Series and has just signed up to drive for BMW in its return to the German Touring Car Series (DTM) where they race V8 beasts. He will surprise.
Jan Magnussen (Denmark – Supercheap Auto Racing)
LeMans winner, former F1 driver and the fastest thing to come from Denmark in quite some time. Which probably doesn’t say too much.
Helio Castro-Neves (Brazil – Lucky 7 Racing)
The ever popular Brazilian is back after a few troubled years in the US. Still races for Penske Racing in the IndyCar Series but yet to win his first championship.
Boris Said (USA – VIP Petfoods Racing)
NASCAR driver who specialises in road courses. Has raced in V8s before but without much success.
Christian Klien (Austria – Bottle-O Racing)
The former Jaguar, Red Bull Racing and HRT F1 driver will make his debut. Don’t expect much from his tintop appearance. His LeMans experiece may help though.
Patrick Long (USA – Bundaberg Racing)
American LeMans Series driver who is usually up the front. V8s are a much different game but he could have a good crack.
Andy Priaulx (England – Team Vodafone)
Touring car ace who races all over Europe and wins a hell of a lot of the races he enters. Currently attached to BMW. He has raced V8s before, including Bathurst. He will be quick, no question.
Sebastien Bourdais (France – Team Vodafone)
Former F1 racer for Scuderia Toro Rosso and CART Series champion about a million times, Bourdais returns to V8s. Wasn’t stunning last year but he’s a skilled pilot.
So – worth the trip up to the Goldy? We think so!
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.