Indy aces hope to blaze Bathurst trail

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 08/10/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus; Pic: Pace Images

Wildcard duo James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi hope a strong performance at Bathurst will create opportunities for more IndyCar drivers to contest the event.

The IndyCar regulars are making their Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 debuts as a wildcard with Walkinshaw Andretti United.

American Rossi drives for Andretti Autosports in the open-wheel series, sporting the same sponsor - NAPA Auto Parts - and #27 as his Bathurst entry.

ARROW McLaren Racing SP driver Hinchcliffe already has a Supercars start to his name at the 2012 Gold Coast 600, where teams had to field international co-drivers.

“I remember watching Supercars as a kid, I grew up absolutely loving this series and always wanting to compete in it,” said the Canadian.

“When the opportunity came up for the Gold Coast a couple of years back, I jumped on it, and then this one even more so.

“This is the Indy 500 of Supercar racing. I certainly hope that we do well enough that it does open some doors for other guys to come over and do it.

“Hopefully enough people back in the States are watching and it brings a little extra attention to the series.”

Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, expects the NAPA wildcard to increase interest in Supercars from the United States.

Two of the country’s most legendary racing names, Penske and Andretti, have taken ownership stakes in teams in recent years, while this season has featured the debut of the Ford Mustang.

“Everyone knows about Supercars in the racing world, but obviously in America there’s a lot of different sports that attract a lot of attention,” said Rossi.

“I think once people who are fans of IndyCar tune into this race, see the competitiveness of it, the uniqueness of the track and just how cool the series is and great the drivers are, there will be a lot more eyeballs paying attention.

“Hopefully, with NAPA Auto Parts being a US name coming onboard to support us for this event and their expansion into the Australian market, it opens a lot of doors for all of us.”

Rossi and Hinchcliffe had their first taste of the NAPA Commodore at Winton last week; their scheduled three-day test cut short by a day thanks to a crash for the American.

Noting the stark differences between an IndyCar and a Supercar and respectful of the challenge of the Bathurst circuit, Hinchcliffe is cautious about making predictions for the weekend.

“It’s tough to put a specific goal on it,” he said.

“Obviously we want to do well and show well for the team. It’s a long race, 1000km, a lot can happen.

“If you just stay out of trouble, don’t make any mistakes and hit your marks throughout the course of the afternoon, it’d be great to come home with a top 10.

“That’d be like a win for us.”

Viewers outside Australia and New Zealand can watch every Supercars race including the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 via the SuperView streaming service.

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