Kanaan to race down under
The number of former IndyCar or Champ Car Champions at this year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 has increased to four with Brad Jones Racing confirming Tony Kanaan as part of their squad for this year’s October 21-23 event.
|Tony Kanaan headed Down Under|
|Kanaan will drive the Jana Living Commodore with Jason Bargwanna|
Kanaan, who won the IndyCar series in 2004, will co-drive with Jason Bargwanna in the Jana Living Racing Commodore, which is prepared in BJR’s Albury-based workshop.
Kanaan, who currently drives for Australian Kevin Kalkhoven at KV Racing Technology in the IZOD IndyCar Series, will join former IndyCar champions Scott Dixon (2003 & '08) and Dan Wheldon (2005) in the field as well as four-time Champ Car Series winner Sebastien Bourdais (2004, '05, '06 & '07).
BJR has been one of the big improvers in this year’s V8 Supercar Championship and Bargwanna won the first ever V8 Supercar Championship round on the Gold Coast back in 2002.
The confirmation of “TK” also brings the number of Brazilians in the field to three with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves confirmed with Tim Slade in the Lucky7 Ford at Stone Brothers Racing and Augusto Farfus in a Fujitsu Commodore at Fujitsu Racing/GRM.
So far this season Kanaan has had 12 starts in the IZOD IndyCar Series for one pole, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes, with his best result being a second at Iowa. He currently sits fourth in the championship.
Kanaan is regarded as one of the most consistent drivers in the sport and proved that on the way to his 2004 title when he became the first driver in major auto racing history to complete every lap of every race for an entire season.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 will feature a current Formula One driver for the first time this year after the signing of Hispania Racing Team’s Italian star Tonio Liuzzi as co-driver for Tony D’Alberto in the Wilson Security Racing Falcon.
A total of 27 of the 28 internationals have been announced and along with Kanaan and Liuzzi, includes former IndyCar, Champ Car and Indy 500 winners, British, European, Italian and World Touring Car champions and winners from the world’s most iconic endurance events including the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Daytona 24-Hour, Sebring 12-Hour and Le-Mans 24-Hour – no less than 12 different countries will be represented.
The build-up to this year’s event will include a full test day at Queensland Raceway on Wednesday October 19 and a half-day test the following day – primarily designed for the IndyCar drivers arriving in late from their final round and gala dinner in Las Vegas the weekend prior.
This year’s event not only includes some of the biggest names in world motorsport, but also from the world of entertainment with the event’s Rock 'n' Race format to continue with nightly concerts at the Broadwater Parklands entertainment precinct.
The 600 Sounds festival will be headlined by legendary Scottish band, Simple Minds, on the Saturday night.
Three-day tickets start at just $136 and provide three days of racing action and two night of live music.
Tickets for this year’s event are on sale through ticketek.com or by calling 132 849.
Queensland Minister for Sport, Phil Reeves, said the addition of Kanaan would add a bit more Brazilian spice to an already world-class line-up
“I think there are a lot of race fans who have fond memories of Tony Kanaan in an open wheel car on the Gold Coast and I am sure he will have a lot of people cheering for him in October,” said Reeves.
“The inclusion of Tony Kanaan in the field adds even further depth to a line-up which is simply world class.
“The Bligh Government is 100% committed to the success of Armor All Gold Coast 600, it reinforces that Queensland is the champions state and the events state.”
“The driver line-up speaks for itself, the entertainment program for the 600 Sounds festival at the Broadwater Parklands is the icing on the cake for what will be a fantastic week on the streets of Surfers Paradise.”
WHAT HE HAS TO SAY…..
TONY KANAAN – JANA LIVING RACING COMMODORE
"I cannot wait to get back down to the Gold Coast," said Kanaan.
"It has always been one of my favorite events and places in the world.
"This time we head back in a different type of car, but the focus will be the same with championship points up for grabs for Jason (Bargwanna) and the Brad Jones Racing team.
"Obviously there are a few IndyCar drivers coming down for the event again this year and there will be a bit of pride on the line.
"I think the international concept is a terrific one. All the guys who went last year had a great time and really enjoyed racing the V8 Supercar. They have not stopped talking about it.
"Some of my fondest racing memories are my trips to Australia in the late 90s with Dario (Franchitti), Max Papis, Greg Moore and the guys we used to come in a week early to ensure we enjoyed every second of it.
“The only experience I had with a V8 touring car was a single test I did in Brazil with the Stock Cars that they run there, so I don't think that counts as any help, so I'm looking forward to getting to Australia after the IndyCar season finale to get behind the wheel of the V8 Supercar.
"I know my current team owner Kevin Kalkhoven, who is Australian, considers that he has a little bit of unfinished business down there after getting the pole for three years with Will Power without a win in a Champ Car. Hopefully I can bring him home one of those famous surfboard trophies."