Global motorsport mogul Roger Penske has backed Supercars’ plans to expand the series into Asia.
Penske was speaking at Mount Panorama at his first Bathurst 1000 as he prepared to watch his DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon FG Xs push for pole position in the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout.
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Chief Executive James Warburton is targeting 2018 for the category’s foray into Asia, after a demonstration in Kuala Lumpur last year.
A big part of Penske’s move in Supercars was to grow his businesses in Australia, and while he does not have many business interests in Asia, he can only see opportunity if the sport takes off internationally.
“I always ask the leaders of these sanctioning bodies, is it going to make it stronger?” he said.
“Running all over the world is one thing but can we get a fanbase? You look here, you don’t need to go to far to see what the sport is able to bring but going into new markets is important.
“Sometimes economically they are important – but long term does it make the sport better? We certainly would support a race in Asia if they had it.”
Penske is impressed with Mount Panorama after looking around this morning.
“I’m just glad I’m not driving today, that’s all I can say. It’s quite a circuit.
“We have circuits in the US, but nothing like this from a road course perspective. I mean, the walls on both sides and no mistakes, certainly the elevation changes are amazing and to think of the speeds … you can’t even see the road coming down. Some of the blind corners are amazing, so I take my hat off to all these drivers.
“It will be interesting to see tomorrow and how we do today in the shootout.
“But more important is the race tomorrow – that’s what we are here for.”
Drivers Fabian Coulthard and Scott Pye qualified fifth and eight respectively and will hope to better those positions in this afternoon’s shootout.