SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 22, 2010) - Team Penske's IZOD IndyCar Series drivers all made their presence felt on the opening day of practice for this weekend's talent-laden V8 Supercar Series event on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Fresh off his runner-up IndyCar Series finish in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, Will Power once again demonstrated his street course prowess as he posted the top practice time among the international "invitation" drivers competing in this weekend's race on Australia's Gold Coast. After completing another solid season in the No. 6 Team Penske IndyCar, Ryan Briscoe may figure more prominently than expected in the Holden Racing Team's plans this weekend. And Helio Castroneves found the limit of the car that he's trying to adapt to at Surfers Paradise and then, unfortunately, went past it. The driver that normally sits behind the wheel of the No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar made contact with the wall in practice and saw his day end early on Friday.
The Team Penske trio joined 15 other international star racers - including three other top competitors from the IZOD IndyCar Series - that were invited to compete as co-drivers with the Supercar Series regulars at the Gold Coast 600 event.
A native of nearby Toowoomba, Australia, Power methodically made his way up to speed as he got comfortable in the V8 Supercar and adapted to the challenging circuit, which has been shortened since the last time he ran at Surfers Paradise in the 2008 IndyCar race. Power topped the third practice session of the day with a lap of 1:13.4205 and said he felt relaxed following the first day on track. Power and his co-driver wound up 14th overall in combined practice times.
"It was a really good day, I got the hang of the car and slowly crept up on it and kept it off the wall, which was the first aim," said Power. "I learned what I could about the car, I feel pretty comfortable and very relaxed. I think we are in for a good weekend. Even though they have shortened the track, it is a still as fun as it ever was. The shorter track is good for us Internationals as we get some more laps. We need as many laps as we can and that's what I got today."
The winner of the last IndyCar race at Surfers in 2008, Briscoe may see his role increase on the Holden Racing Team as his co-driver, Will Davison, is still feeling the effects of an accident earlier this month at Bathurst. "He's doing alright though, I think," said Briscoe, the Sydney, Australia native who also raced at Bathurst. "We'll just have to play it by ear a bit tomorrow and see how he goes through qualifying. But I'm prepared to do more if that's what the team needs and I think I was putting in some competitive lap times today (Friday). I'm hoping I'll be able to hold my own."
Castroneves walked back to the garage and apologized to his team after he made contact in Turn 11 and caused damage to his Stone Brothers Racing Ford in the practice session for international co-drivers. The three-time Indy 500 winner was negotiating the left-hand turn at the end of the back straight when the car went into the tire barrier and damaged the right-front end.
"I've found it really difficult to find the limits of these V8s and before the crash I thought I was going pretty good but then it understeered through the corner," said Castroneves. "The braking and the weight of these (cars) is very different. It's really hard to pull the cars up. The guys in the team had been coaching me to brake deeper, but I think I braked a little bit too deep when I crashed."
Saturday and Sunday will both feature a qualifying session followed by a race for the V8 Supercars. This weekend's events will be televised in the U.S. on SPEED on Sunday, October 31 beginning at 3 pm ET.
Friday's Combined Practice Times
Will Power Finished: 14th
Ryan Briscoe Finished: 18th
Helio Castroneves Finished: 22nd
Position /Car# /Drivers/ Time
1. #5 M.Winterbottom/L.Youlden 1:12.3486
2. #55 P.Dumbrell/J.Villeneuve 1:12.4420
3. #18 J.Courtney/W.Luff 1:12.5077
4. #2 G.Tander/C.McConville 1:12.6403
5. #33 L.Holdsworth/G.Ritter 1:12.6524
6. #8 J.Richards/A.Jones 1:12.6583
7. #888 C.Lowndes/A.Priaulx 1:12.7878
8. #14 J.Bright/A.Menu 1:12.8618
9. #51 G.Murphy/Y.Muller 1:12.8837
10. #3 T.D'Alberto/T.Monteiro 1:12.8855
11. #9 S.Van Gisbergen/J.McIntyre 1:12.9077
12. #7 T.Kelly/S.Dixon 1:12.9248
13. #39 R.Ingall/J.Perkins 1:13.0394
14. #6 S.Richards/W.Power 1:13.0720
15. #34 M.Caruso/P.Long 1:13.0949
16. #17 S.Johnson/D.Franchitti 1:13.1741
17. #24 F.Coulthard/D.Reynolds 1:13.2110
18. #22 W.Davison/R.Briscoe 1:13.2328
19. #15 R.Kelly/O.Kelly 1:13.2598
20. #1 J.Whincup/S.Owen 1:13.2832
21. #21 K.Reindler/F.Giovanardi 1:13.3591
22. #47 T.Slade/H.Castroneves 1:13.3801
23. #4 A.Davison/D.Brabham 1:13.3860
24. #12 D.Fiore/G.Morbidelli 1:13.5545
25. #19 J.Webb/S.Bourdais 1:13.6182
26. #11 J.Bargwanna/A.Tagliani 1:13.6894
27. #10 A.Thompson/M.Salo 1:14.7000
28. #16 T.Ricciardello/D.Wood 1:15.3150
29. #30 N.Pretty/S.Pruett 1:15.6548