Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi are heading Down Under to Australia to compete in the Bathurst 1000 race.
The drivers shared the news on Facebook that they will compete in the race with with Walkinshaw Andretti United.
The Bathurst 1000 just got a whole lot BIGGER!@AlexanderRossi and @Hinchtown are headed Down Under to take on The Mountain in a wildcard collaboration between WAU, @FollowAndretti and @UnitedAutosport
— Walkinshaw Andretti United (@FollowWAU) August 15, 2019
Speaking about the news, James Hinchcliffe who competes in the NTT IndyCar Series in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda said:
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. 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.
“For sure it’s a big ask, we are neophytes to the car, to the track, to everything involved, but I think we are both competitive and Alex is an immensely talented guy, a very driven guy, and together we can push ourselves and the team and hopefully not make ourselves look too silly.
“It’s obviously nice to have a familiar element in the whole thing, there is going to be a lot new to us, and there is going to be a lot of unknowns, but knowing there is a great team like Walkinshaw Andretti United, and knowing there is that tieback to Andretti Autosport with whom I had a very successful stint in IndyCar, it does make it a little bit easier, and makes it feel a bit more natural to jump into a new situation.”
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda commented on the news:
“It’s 100 per cent a bucket list item. 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.
“The team is excellent, there are guys who are going over who I know from the IndyCar program, so with all of that in place and having a great team mate to learn off, and other local guys as well, it’s going to be the best possible recipe to have a successful event.
“As much as we are going to try and put our best foot forward, it’s important for us to enjoy the experience as well, because it’s certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Team director Michael Andretti commented in the announcement saying:
“Running a wildcard entry for the Bathurst 1000 has been a goal for us since the formation of Walkinshaw Andretti United, and I’m really looking forward to bringing some of Andretti Autosport to The Mountain.
“We have great talents both within Andretti Autosport and within the IndyCar Series. Alexander and James are both great fits within our team and will be natural teammates. I have no doubt that they will adapt quickly. It’s great to be able to bring this program to life and provide this opportunity for everyone involved.
“This effort wouldn’t have been possible without Bill Sandbrook and U.S. Concrete, and the support of Sean Seamer and the Supercars organization. I’m looking forward to boarding that Virgin Australia flight in LA and seeing everyone in Bathurst!”
Michael Walkinshaw commented saying:
It’s fantastic to bring this program to life, and to strengthen our relationship with our partners.
“I can’t wait to see both Alexander and James behind the wheel of a Supercar. It’s not only a big deal for our team, but the sport as a whole.
“To further enhance those links between us, Andretti Autosport and United Autosports, not only on the driving front, but with staff who can add to their experience is a really fulfilling thing. It shows the strength and connection between our organisations.
“This program would not be possible without the support of Sean Seamer and the entire Supercars organisation. We must also thank Bill and U.S. Concrete, as well as Virgin Australia for their support in making this happen.
“Keep an eye out for them up there, they will be ones to watch.”
United Autosport’s co owner and McLaren CEO Zak Brown said:
“It’s great to finally bring the wildcard to life. We’ve spoken about it for a while now, so I’m really excited to see it in motion, and what a place to be able to make it happen.
“To have two drivers of Alexander and James’ calibre behind the wheel is fantastic, but also, to have some of our guys from United Autosports there at one of the biggest races in the world is extremely exciting.
“Bring on The Mountain, I can’t wait to get there