MELBOURNE, Australia – NTT IndyCar Series regulars James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi will travel to Australia in October to compete in the upercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Hinchcliffe and Rossi will drive wildcard entry fielded by Walkinshaw Andretti United, in collaboration with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports, during the the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on Oct. 10-13.
William Sandbrook and Virgin Australia have thrown their support behind the program. A title partner for the program has not been announced.
William Sandbrook, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Concrete, will personally support the entry of the car, which will be used to promote U.S. Concrete’s international products, WheresMyConcrete and Polaris Materials’ Orca High Performance Concrete Aggregates.
Virgin Australia will not only ensure the drivers and international crew make it to Bathurst and back, but they will also use the Wildcard to help promote their Australia to Los Angeles flights.
In a collaboration between all facets of Walkinshaw Andretti United, engineering and mechanical staff for the entry will be sourced from Walkinshaw Andretti United staff locally, as well as Andretti Autosport and United Autosports employees, who will also make the trek to Australia.
The Holden ZB Commodore entry will run under No. 27, which historically has been an Andretti Autosport number with a successful history. Rossi currently uses the No. 27 in the NTT IndyCar Series. Hinchcliffe also ran it during his time with Andretti Autosport. It is also seen on Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights and Formula E entries.
Rossi, 27, hails from Nevada City, Calif., and currently drives the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts-backed Andretti Autosport Indy car. He has won seven IndyCar Series events, including the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
“It’s 100 percent a bucket list item,” Rossi said. “It’s in one of those six big races alongside the likes of the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bathurst is right up there, so to be able to have this opportunity to do it with Walkinshaw Andretti United and still be close to home with the Andretti Autosport connection is very cool and I can’t wait to get started.
“It’s going to be a steep learning curve and I’m very aware of that. I’ve got a few friends who are Supercars drivers, so I know how talented the competition is, and how challenging this specific racetrack is, but at the same time it’s a really exciting challenge and something that has been on my target list for a long time, we’re going to go out and do the best we can.”
Hinchcliffe, 32, currently drives the No. 5 IndyCar entry for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The Canadian has six IndyCar Series victories.
“Bathurst is one of those bucket list things. As drivers we look back at the era of guys like Mario (Andretti) jumping in a different car every weekend, the nature of the sport now is quite different and it’s not quite as easy to do that,” said Hinchcliffe. “When these opportunities come up you want to jump at them and really grab a hold of them.
“The Gold Coast race some years ago was a huge blast and a bucket list thing to, but for Supercars the Bathurst 1000 is their Indy 500, it is their 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s their hallmark event so to get to add that one to the résumé is very special.”
Before they tackle Bathurst, the drivers will have three-day test at Winton Raceway on Oct. 1-3, a chance for them to become accustom to the 650hp race car they’ll be driving.