Nick Heidfeld, Marco Andretti and Darren Turner have been announced as starters in this year's Armor All Gold Coast 600 at the event's official launch today.
October's Gold Coast 600 invitational event sees 28 of motorsport's biggest international names joining the V8 Supercars Championship field for two 300-kilometre races around the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland.
Ex-Formula 1 veteran Heidfeld and and IndyCars star Andretti are set to pair with Ford Performance Racing’s David Reynolds (The Bottle-O Racing Team) and Kelly Racing’s Todd Kelly (Jack Daniel's Racing) respectively, while British sportscar ace Turner returns for a second consecutive year with Walkinshaw Racing, although their three-car line-up is yet to be revealed.
Heidfeld, who is competing in this year's FIA World Endurance Championship and finished fourth in his first start at the Le Mans 24 Hour last weekend, is looking forward to following in the footsteps of other F1 stars who have competed in the Gold Coast event.
“I am very excited to be racing at the Gold Coast 600 this year,” said Heidfeld.
“V8 Supercars is a category I am hearing a lot about from friends in Europe who have driven on the Gold Coast and they all say very positive things.
“The cars are very unique and look like a lot of fun to drive. They are very different to what I have driven for most of my career but I am looking forward to the challenge.
“To be part of Ford Performance Racing is a privilege especially given the season they are having. I know Prodrive well from my racing in Europe and I know they are very professional and well run.
“My team-mate in The Bottle-O car David Reynolds is a rising star and I look forward to learning a lot from him when I test for the first time in October.
“The Gold Coast 600 looks like a fun event and one that now attracts a lot of attention from drivers all around the world. I can't wait to race there in October.”
Andretti, grandson of former F1 champion, Indy 500 and Daytona 500 winner Mario Andretti and son of former Gold Coast Indy winner Michael Andretti Jr. currently drives for his father's Andretti Autosport team in the IndyCar series.
Andretti competed in the last IndyCar race on the Gold Coast in 2008, finishing 13th and expects to be quickly up-to-speed against his fellow co-drivers.
“I'm really looking forward to the Gold Coast V8 Supercars event,” said Andretti.
“The sport is growing in popularity in the US and the event has become very popular among the IndyCar drivers, so I'm pumped about the chance to compete.
“In terms of results, I definitely want to be competitive. I expect to run in the top 10 and hopefully Todd and the Jack Daniel's boys can help me get straight up to speed.”
Turner last year teamed up with Holden Racing Team's James Courtney after being drafted in to drive in place of Dan Wheldon following his tragic death in an IndyCar accident in Las Vegas the week before the Gold Coast event. The pair finished 14th in the first race and a superb sixth in the second race after starting from 23rd on the grid.
The 38-year-old Englishman who finished third in the GTE-Pro class in the Le Mans 24 Hour last week, is delighted to be racing in V8 Supercars again.
“I'm excited about returning to Australia for the Armor All Gold Coast 600,” said Turner.
“V8 Supercars is a highly-rated international category and is on every driver's radar – having already had a taste of the event, I can't wait to come back for more.
“It's an honour to be invited back onto the Walkinshaw Racing team and to race in such a beautiful and spectacular location like the Gold Coast is just incredible. It's a world-class event.”
Nine drivers have now been confirmed for the 2012 Armor Gold Coast 600 following earlier announcements that Sebastien Bourdais and Richard Lyons will line-up with TeamVodafone, and Gianni Morbidelli, Max Papis, Peter Kox and Boris Said will drive for Dick Johnson Racing.
The event takes place on 19 – 21 October. All 28 co-drivers will get the chance to test at Queensland Raceway on the Wednesday prior to the event.