Helio Castroneves is the latest international star to be included on the entry list for this year's Armor All Gold Coast 600 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Oct. 22-24. The three-time Indy 500 winner will co-drive with Tim Slade in the Wilson Security entry, prepared by Stone Brothers Racing.
Castroneves was originally unavailable when invitations were first issued to what is shaping as the world's greatest touring car event, but he has accepted an opportunity to replace former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who has bowed out of the event.
“The Gold Coast holds some fantastic memories for me as one of the world's great motorsport events,” said Castroneves. “When the concept for the Gold Coast 600 was announced I was disappointed I could not make it, but the withdrawal of Heinz-Harald has given me another chance to accept an invitation and I am very excited.
The inclusion of Castroneves means that the field will now include the last four Indy 500 winners and five of the top six drivers on the current IndyCar Series points table. It will also mean that Castroneves will join his Penske teammates Will Power and Ryan Briscoe.
The international list is a who's who of world motorsport including former Formula 1, CART and Indy 500 champion, Jacques Villeneuve, sports car ace David Brabham, Kiwi Scott Dixon, Scottish ace and former Gold Coast Champ Car race winner Dario Franchitti, North America's most successful road course racer and 1997 Gold Coast winner, Scott Pruett, four-time Champ Car and two-time Gold Coast winner Sebastien Bourdais from France, former European F1 drivers and current touring car and sports car guns Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), Mika Salo (Finland), Andy Priaulx (UK), Gianni Morbidelli (Italy), Fabrizio Giovanardi (Italy), Alain Menu (Switzerland) and Yvan Muller (France).
“I loved watching the V8 Supercars when we were down in Australia in 2008 and I watch as many races as I can on SPEED Channel here in the U.S.,” Castroneves added. “Linking with a young talent like Tim Slade and the Wilson Security team means we will be competitive – especially with preparation from Stone Brothers Racing, which obviously did a great job for Marcos Ambrose a few years ago.
“The Gold Coast is one of the world's most beautiful places and it would be nice to leave there with one of those famous surfboard trophies.”
All of the international drivers for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 are set to arrive on the Gold Coast on the Sunday before the event and will be involved in a week of activity, including a full-day test at Queensland Raceway.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 will include two 300km races on Saturday and Sunday of the event, with the international drivers required to complete a minimum of 30 percent of each of the races.