Australian V8 Supercars racing "keen" for North American track UPDATE Multiple sources have told Autoweek that the Circuit of the Americas, the under-construction road course near Austin, Texas, that is set to host its first Formula One race in November, will announce on Tuesday that the Australian V8 Supercars series will race there in 2013--likely on the same weekend as the nonpoints May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway--in hopes of attracting some NASCAR stars.
The announcement is expected to feature at least one V8 Supercars driver, likely Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom, who was at the NASCAR road-course race on Sunday at Sonoma in California. Winterbottom, who drives a Ford Falcon in the series, visited with former V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose--who now drives in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and was the pole sitter for the past two races--and with Ambrose's team owner, Richard Petty. Ambrose was the V8 Supercars champ in 2003 and 2004 before migrating to the United States to pursue a NASCAR career.
Winterbottom, presently third in the V8 Supercars points, was the voice of the car Frosty in the Disney Pixar film Cars 2.
Tuesday's announcement may or may not include news of a title sponsor for the race. Several companies are reportedly interested, all of them companies that are presently involved in racing in Australia, such as Jack Daniels. AutoWeek06/06/11 Australia's unique big rear-wheel-drive V8-powered sedan market that most Americans have seen was the short-lived Pontiac G8, but that’s not stopping a popular racing series from considering a hop over the pond.
Although series officials have long denied any interest in North America, it appears that the tide might be turning.
"Were keen to get one round in North America,” series chairman Tony Cochrane told SPEED.
“A couple of things have shifted. Firstly, our announcement that the FIA has approved our growing to 18 events, with six having international status, has certainly created a lot of interest in markets throughout the world. We’ve had a number of inquiries from new markets for the V8 series.”
Cochrane credits the motorsports-oriented cable and satellite TV network SPEED with helping to drum up interest in a market far removed from Australia.
“We’ve also had quite a bit of interest in North America thanks to SPEED, and we’re working now with SPEED to grow our presence going forward on the network, and that has certainly helped many fans in North America to become familiar with our product,” he said. “Now there has been very strong interest from a number of American circuits to host a round of our great championship. We don’t have anything signed, but we are talking with people.”