Stone Brothers Racing has confirmed its international co-driver line-up for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in October.
French IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud, Dutch GT ace Jeroen Bleekemolen and Australian sportscar and GT driver David Brabham will partner IRWIN Racing's Lee Holdsworth, SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen and Lucky 7 Racing's Tim Slade respectively.
This will be the second year in succession that Pagenaud and Holdsworth have driven together on the Gold Coast, having scored a third place in Sunday's race last year for Fujitsu Racing GRM. The former American Le Mans Series champion and Le Mans 24 Hour runner-up is currently competing in his first full-time season in the IZOD IndyCar Series driving for Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports.
“I'm ecstatic to compete again in such a great event at the Gold Coast. I had a great time and a fantastic experience last year,” said Pagenaud.
“This team has had such great accomplishments and I felt very blessed when I got a call from Ross! Reuniting with Lee Holdsworth is a tremendous opportunity. Lee and I really went along well last year and I managed to bring a surf board home. I will plan on bringing my A game to the table and hopefully aim for two surfboards this year.
“Lee is an awesome driver and I look forward to helping him secure the points he will need at the end of the year for his championship.”
Having competed with Alex Davison in the enduros for the past two seasons with IRWIN Racing, Brabham again returns to Stone Brothers Racing for his first Surfers Paradise start since 2010. The 2009 Le Mans 24 Hour and 1997 Bathurst 1000 winner, is racing for United Autosports in the Blancpain Endurance Series and in the FIA World Endurance Championship for JRM Racing.
“I am really looking forward to returning to SBR, I have driven for them at Bathurst, Phillip Island and the GC600, so I know the team well. I look forward to working with the teams other co drivers and they are very talented, so with the three of us I am sure SBR will be strong,” said Brabham.
“Last time I raced a V8 Supercar was last year at Bathurst and my pace was the same as my team mate Alex Davidson, so I know it won't take long to get up to speed. I know the GC600 track, as I raced there two years ago and had a 5th place finish.
“Tim Slade is in great form and the team are consistent top 10 competitors. The goal for the event would be to win. I have never won a V8 Supercars race so it would be a great addition to my CV.”
Meanwhile, Bleekemolen will be making his V8 Supercars debut. The Dutchman won this year's Dubai 24 Hour and is a two-time Porsche Supercup champion and currently races in the American Le Mans Series. He was also runner-up in this year's Bathurst 12 Hour GT race with Slade part of the four-man driving crew.
“I'm really happy to be joining SBR and Shane for the GC600. I have followed Australian V8 Supercars for many years and think it's one of the best racing series in the world. To be joining one of the best teams and driver in the series makes it even better,” said Bleekemolen.
“It's great for the international drivers to be able to compete in this event. Hopefully we can have a strong result and I come back for more events over the next few years.
“I will have to adapt quickly to the car, as many of my international competitors have done this race many times before. But I'm really up to the challenge and think we should have a chance to do well. Personally I think it would be great if we could get a podium finish and take home a surf board.
“Of course the Gold Coast is a fantastic place to be once the racing is over, so overall it should be a great experience.”
SBR Team Principal Ross Stone added: “All three international drivers will bring a wealth of driving experience to the team and in the past both David and Simon have placed in the top five in this event.
“Our co-drivers all want to perform as well as they can to get the best results for our cars, and I'm confident they have the skills which are required for them to finish strongly.”
Today’s announcement takes the number of international co-drivers confirmed for the October event to 12, following earlier announcements that Nick Heidfeld will team up with Ford Performance Racing, Marco Andretti will race with Kelly Racing, Darren Turner returns for a second consecutive year with Walkinshaw Racing; 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.