US deal set to attract drivers to V8s
A landmark deal to race in the United States could lure some of the world's best drivers to V8 Supercars, Ford ace Mark Winterbottom says.
V8 Supercars announced on Friday they'd secured a five-year deal to race in Austin, Texas from 2013 - the latest step in their bold plan to have up to six international events on their calendar.
The Circuit of the Americas track - still under construction - will debut with next year's US Formula one Grand Prix.
While dates are yet to be set, both 200km V8 Supercars championship races in Austin will be televised live to 80 million viewers throughout North and South America on the US cable SPEED network.
V8 Supercars are also expected to announce new events in India and Singapore in the next 12 months with races in South Korea and Qatar also believed to be on the horizon.
However, leading V8 driver Winterbottom believed "unheard of" exposure created by the US deal alone would lure drivers from around the world to the Supercars category.
"I think drivers will want to come here and drive - certainly I can see European drivers wanting to now," Winterbottom told AAP.
"This is one of the best series in the world, and now we are getting a taste of some of the best tracks around the world.
"Everyone wants to race overseas - that is the big carrot for most drivers.
"But now this category gets to drive on some of the best tracks around the world and who knows what is on the horizon - this fulfils every dream a driver has got."
Two-time V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose - who now races in the American NASCAR Sprint Cup series - believed the Austin track will prove a great place to introduce the Australian category to the world.
"On paper, the track at Austin looks to be a great facility and will be a top showcase for the sport worldwide," he said.
Apart from Ambrose racing in NASCAR, Australia also has a profile in the Indycars with Ryan Briscoe and Will Power part of leading team Penske Racing.
Ambrose, 34, believed Americans would embrace V8 Supercars.
He said the popularity of road-style circuits in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series showed Americans enjoy more than just oval-style racing.
"Last weekend's race at Sears Point showed that American fans not only love oval track racing, but they also support and enjoy road racing," Ambrose said.
"I hope they will get behind it just as much as the fans back home do."