Bathurst bat­tle of Will’s

Queens­land’s Indycar star puts the US first, writes STEPHEN OTTLEY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

INDYCAR star Will Power jet­ted back to his roots last week­end. The Amer­i­can-based racer made a sur­prise ap­pear­ance at the Bathurst 1000 af­ter fly­ing in on Sun­day in a pri­vate jet owned by his team boss, Queens­land busi­ness­man Craig Gore.

It was Power’s first time at the race since 2002, when he co-drove a Ford Fal­con with Mark Larkham straight af­ter winning the Aus­tralian For­mula Holden ti­tle and fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the lo­cal For­mula Three cham­pi­onship.

He’s back in Aus­tralia to pre­pare for next week­end’s Indy 300 around the streets of the Gold Coast but ad­mits he still hopes to race at Bathurst again.

‘‘In the right sit­u­a­tion, yes,’’ Power says. ‘‘It was one of the most en­joy­able week­end’s I’ve had here, run­ning with Larko. A learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as well.’’

He says it will have to wait un­til af­ter his Indycar ca­reer ends be­cause the V8 Su­per­car com­pe­ti­tion is too tough to try to tame in a one-off ap­pear­ance at Aus­tralia’s tough­est race­track.

‘‘I think I’d rather be do­ing this full-time,’’ he says. ‘‘It would be very tough to be com­pet­i­tive just do­ing a one-off, es­pe­cially in a V8 Su­per­car. It’s a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal and it would take a while to catch on to what makes it quick. It’s im­por­tant to do it prop­erly or not do it at all.’’

Es­pe­cially af­ter spending most of his ca­reer in open-wheel race cars.

‘‘That’s what I’ve been do­ing for the past few years. Well, pretty much my whole ca­reer, racing open-wheel­ers. I know the trade well,’’ he says.

Given the choice be­tween Bathurst and Indycar’s big­gest race, the Indianapolis 500, Power says his heart wants a US win.

‘‘For me, the Indy 500,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s a pretty in­cred­i­ble race. It’s prob­a­bly the big­gest race in the world. It has the big­gest crowd in the world. Ev­ery­thing about it is big, in­clud­ing the prize­money; $US2.9 mil­lion to win.’’ OWER caught up with Larkham — now a Chan­nel 7 com­men­ta­tor — and for­mer Champ Car driv­ers Mar­cus Mar­shall and Matt Hal­l­i­day, who were shar­ing a Britek Motorsport Ford in the race.

Born and raised in Toowoomba in Queens­land, Power is de­ter­mined to win his home race af­ter com­ing so close in the past two years only to be in­volved in crashes each time.

It will be a new chal­lenge this year be­cause the Indycar Se­ries has taken over the for­mer Champ Car se­ries. The Indycar se­ries uses dif­fer­ent cars and has never raced at Surfers Par­adise.

‘‘No doubt it will be a huge event. I can’t wait to get in the car for that first prac­tice ses­sion.’’

P

Power surge: (from left) Matt Hal­l­i­day, Will Power and Mar­cus Mar­shall on the Bathurst 1000 grid at the week­end.

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