Team Australia applauds merger
Team Australia co-owner and Australian businessman Craig Gore has applauded today’s announcement of a unification between the Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League in 2008.
While the final details are expected to be released over the next week, including the positioning of the annual Gold Coast Indy 300 in Australia, a brief statement today confirmed an agreement to end the 12-year split.
During the last five weeks there has been plenty of speculation about the ‘players’ of both sides of the open-wheel fence, including Team Australia, which Gore says will compete in the new unified series.
Gore was on the ground in Indianapolis and was involved in initial meetings involving leaders from both existing series, which eventually led the final unification announcement today.
“There is no doubt that this is a great day in world motorsport history,” said Gore.
“The unification has been a long time coming, but now we can all go forward together.
“Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerry Forsythe and Tony George must be congratulated for getting the deal done. A deal that obviously had so many variables attached to it.
“Both sides had their loyal supporters, but at the end of the day we can now all be loyal to the future of open-wheel racing and the fantastic sport that we have all had a great belief in.
“Team Australia will be a part of the new series, but our final make-up and structure will be determined after we see what is on offer from the new controlling body.”
Gore has used motorsport successfully in Australia and the US to promote both his WPS Financial Services brand and his Aussie Vineyards Au brands and believes that the unification will offer some great opportunities for Australian companies looking to expand internationally.
“This offers some tremendous opportunities for the Gold Coast’s race in October, for Team Australia and for Australian drivers and sponsors,” said Gore.
“We have all endured some tough times, but that will only make us stronger as we all head into this new era of open-wheel racing.
Gore said there were so many exciting elements to the new deal.
“Not only will we get to see a couple of young Australians the caliber of Will Power and Ryan Briscoe going head to head on the streets of Surfers Paradise, we also get the chance to win the Indy 500,” said Gore.
“I don’t know about you, but that’s going to be pretty cool.
Team Australia driver, Will Power, was excited about the future after today’s announcement.
“It’s great that we’ve all got together for the future,” said Power.
“This will give the sport a big boost and allow it to grow in many areas.
“Having one series will put all the best open-wheel drivers in the United States in one series and it’s going to be a really tough and exciting field.
“The unified schedule will include more road and street courses than the IndyCar teams have been used to over the past few seasons and obviously for the Champ Car teams, we will have a lot to learn.
“But this is clearly the best outcome and I think as drivers, we are all excited about finally all going head-to-head.
“I have only raced one oval event in the past. That was at the Milwaukee Mile and I really, really enjoyed the challenge, I qualified very well and I am looking forward to getting back to the challenge of ovals.
“The bigger ovals will be something new for me and a lot of others on the Champ Car side of things, but we are all up for the challenges involved in this decision.
“The Champ Car teams will be behind the eight-ball to begin with as we will all be using a car that is new to us and the IndyCar guys will have several years experience and development on the car.
“But as we saw in Champ Car in 2007, when a new car comes on board you get a very level playing field so the future will be very good indeed and I am looking forward to being a part of it.
“My home race on the Gold Coast is one of the best motorsport events in the world already, so it’s hard to think how it can get any better. But this unification will make the race at Surfers even better and more exciting with a bigger and more competitive field hitting that amazing street circuit. And one thing remains the same - I’ve got to win that race.
“I can’t wait to get to the Indianapolis 500 as well. I’ve been a bit jealous of my Aussie mate Ryan Briscoe over the past few seasons, watching him run the Indy 500. I live in Indianapolis during the season and the month of May in Indiana is something very special and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”