Australian IndyCar racer, Will Power has been ruled out of this weekend's Armor All Gold Coast 600 after the tragic IZOD IndyCar Series finale in Las Vegas. His place in the field alongside Mark Winterbottom in the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon will be taken by Northern Irish International, Richard Lyons.
Power initially walked free from his Penske Racing machine after the 15 car pileup that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon before later being taken to the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas complaining of lower back pain. He was then ruled out of a trip to Australia.
Singapore-based Lyons is well-credentialed having won both the Formula Nippon and Super GT titles in Japan during his career.
FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards thanked Lyons for accepting the role in such difficult circumstances.
"On behalf of everyone at Ford Performance Racing I would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dan Wheldon," Edwards said.
"Our thoughts are also with Will Power at this tough time and we are just thankful he has escaped without any serious injury.
"I'd also like to thank Richard Lyons for stepping in at such short notice in place of Will. I have known him since my Formula 1 days and he has always impressed me so I am sure he will adapt quickly to our car and the Surfers Paradise track."
Lyons will shortly be on a plane to Australia and was glad he could assist the team at such short notice.
"I am really torn about racing as I literally heard the sad news about Dan's passing only an hour before I spoke with Tim," Lyons said.
"I've known Dan for about 15 years as we started off racing together as juniors. We lived nearby in England and we hung out whenever we could so it is with a heavy heart I come to Surfers Paradise.
"While I am sorry that Will can't come, I look forward to working with such a seasoned professional as Mark Winterbottom and it is a great opportunity for me to work with FPR.
"I've known Tim for many years and I've wanted to drive for him since he worked for Jordan back when he was in Formula 1. So I am grateful that he has called me and I am looking forward to the challenge of another new car and circuit."
Organisers of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 have promised another fun, party event - celebrating Wheldon's life in the only way the Englishman would have wanted.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 features three full days of competition on the streets of Surfers Paradise and two nightly 600 Sounds concerts at the Broadwater Parklands.
Friday night - presented by Sea FM - is headlined by Bliss N Eso with Drapht, Illy, The Potbelleez, Bag Raiders and Tonite Only in support.
Saturday night - presented by Gold FM - when legendary Scottish rockers, Simple Minds take the stage for their only Australian appearance in 2011. They are joined by the Hoodoo Gurus, Eskimo Joe and Masters Apprentices.
Tickets for the event start at $136 for a three day pass and are available at ticketek.com or by calling 132 849. All tickets include concert entry.
WHAT IS THE ARMOR ALL GOLD COAST 600?
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 is South East Queensland's biggest annual event and represents the third endurance race on the V8 Supercars calendar. Fresh from the Supercheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst, the 28 V8 Supercars drivers are partnered with an international star. Racers from Formula 1, IndyCar, Sports Car, Touring Car and NASCAR will be on hand in 2011 for the event -October 21-23. The V8 Supercars will be supported by Porsche Carrera Cup, the V8 Utes, Touring Car Masters and Formula Ford.
WHAT IS 600 SOUNDS, PRESENTED BY SEA FM?
600 Sounds is the nightly concert component of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 Rock 'N' Race format. In 2011, Aussie HipHop stars Bliss N Eso lead the charge on Friday night - presented by Sea FM, whilst legendary Scottish rockers, Simple Minds will make the only Australian appearance of their world tour on Saturday night - and are proudly presented by Gold FM. The Friday night concert also includes The Potbelleez, Drapht, Illy and Bag Raiders, whilst Simple Minds will be ably backed up by Eskimo Joe, the Hoodoo Gurus and Masters Apprentices. Once you've raced all day, rock all night with your Armor All Gold Coast 600 ticket.