TODD AND RICK KELLY BRING SPORTSCAR 'DARK HORSES' TO THE GOLD COAST
Jack Daniel's Racing drivers Todd and Rick Kelly are confident that they are teaming up the two 'dark horses' of this year's Armor All Gold Coast 600 on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland this weekend.
The Kelly brothers will drive alongside two of Europe's best credentialed GT sportscar drivers, something Todd and Rick say will put Jack Daniel's Racing in a strong position at the unique endurance event where full-time V8 Supercars drivers are paired with international co-drivers.
English driver Richard Westbrook, a two-time winner of the prestigious Porsche Supercup, will team up with 2006 Gold Coast event winner Todd Kelly in the team's #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore.Rick Kelly is aiming to climb back into the top four in the championship standings this weekend, promising to click into 'attack mode' at the Surfers Paradise street circuit aboard the #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore.
The 2006 V8 Supercars champion will be joined by German driver Jörg Bergmeister on the Gold Coast this weekend. An official Porsche factory driver, Bergmeister is a five time GT class winner in the American Le Mans Series and has enjoyed victory at endurance classics at Spa, Sebring, Le Mans and Nurburgring.
Westbrook and Bergmeister will get their first taste of the Jack Daniel's Commodores in testing this Wednesday at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich before first practice for the Armor All Gold Coast commences on Friday morning.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"Bathurst was a great race for the Pepsi Max Crew and they did a solid job all weekend," said Rick Kelly.
"That's holding the team's heads up at the moment. For the rest of us, our bottom lips were curled up leaving that event. There is no point hiding that. Bathurst is a big event for us and we were certainly upset not to be up there at the end with the Pepsi Max car because we had the pace to be.
"That Bathurst result hurt our championship. We were chasing third and now we are seventh, which is bad.
"Our mode changes from Bathurst. We are now in attack mode. We cannot sit there and try to just collect points. We need to attack hard and the Gold Coast weekend is where that starts for us.
"In saying that we are also obviously very, very excited to welcome four drivers onboard with our race team, three of which we have never met before.
"For me in the #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore, Jörg comes with a very, very strong reputation for being an excellent, world class driver.
"A few people, including my engineer Adam (Hardy), have recommended him very highly so I'm very excited to get to Queensland Raceway on Wednesday to do the test day with him, try to learn some things from him, get his take on where we could be improving and as a driver learn from him.
"It's a pretty amazing opportunity we have this week and I'm looking forward to having a big attack at this event and looking forward to not only trying to collect a couple of surfboard trophies but also getting up back up to around third or fourth in the championship.
"We had great results from our two IndyCar drivers (Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani) last year, who come from a very different platform of driving compared to our cars.
"They were both absolutely outstanding and already on the pace a couple of practice sessions in.
"Having these GT guys join us this year, where their platform of racing is closer and more suited to what we do, I'm sure we are going to have great success with them over the weekend.
"I'm quite excited to have this caliber of driver joining us. We are still a young team and they can come in and certainly critique what we are doing here and give us input that will help us get further down the track.
"On Wednesday we will put Jörg in my car and give him lots of laps, get him nice and comfortable in the car, make some changes with him in the car and get him used to the soft tyre.
"We will be a lot wiser and learn a lot as a team from that test day as well."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"We are very lucky to come out of Bathurst with a fantastic result for Murph and, from the team's perspective, straight cars and easy cars to turn around," said Todd Kelly.
"So it was great to leave the event in that situation given the tight turn around.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to the Gold Coast. We've met Oliver Gavin last Friday. We've got Tags back and then we will arrive up in Queensland to meet our two Jack Daniel's co-drivers for the very first time in Jörg Bergmeister and Richard Westbrook.
"We will work with them closely all day at the test day on Wednesday at Queensland Raceway.
"It will be great to meet those guys. We've been hanging out to meet them face-to-face and see what they can do in our cars.
"There is a huge list of massive names that are going to be out there rubbing doors with us and it's going to be really cool to see what arises this year and how fast some of these guys are in our cars as well.
"It's really always a good event to see where we sit in the global driver line-up.
"There are always so many things you learn when you get these international guys in our cars.
"These guys have driven everything from Formula One cars to all sorts of other cars all around the globe. It will be very interesting to see how they drive our cars with the techniques and styles that they have developed from their own racing.
"We will learn plenty of things off each other and it will be a fantastic weekend in terms of going over the car and the data and having lots of debriefs and discussions on all aspects of the car and team. I'm really looking forward to that aspect of it.
"On a global motorsport scale Richard and Jörg are very well known drivers. In our country they will certainly be the dark horses in the field in our cars. They will be the guys that raise a few eyebrows I reckon. They will hopefully be very fast.
"They have spent a lot of time in these style of cars and very, very fast sportscars. I don't think any of them will struggle jumping into our cars. It certainly wont be a walk in the park for them because our cars are certainly very different. But these are the kind of drivers that can adapt very quickly and they are all very fast drivers, so they will be quick in our cars as well."
Jack Daniel's Racing in action on Wednesday at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich .* Jack Daniel's Racing international co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Jörg Bergmeister will be testing on Wednesday at Queensland Raceway, for both their first chance to test a V8 Supercar* 2011 is the second year of the unique international driver format for the Gold Coast event. This year, the concept is expanded so that an 'import' is placed alongside each driver in the field, compared to last year when each team had just one international co-driver per two car team* This is also the second event that will be held on a shortened version of the Surfers Paradise street circuit and the 21st event in the race's rich history
Todd and Rick Kelly shared the podium and wins in 2006 on the Gold Coast .* Todd Kelly was the overall winner of the Gold Coast event in 2006 and also the winner of Race 1 that weekend* The event also featured a rare occurrence in V8 Supercar racing - two brothers on the podium, with Rick Kelly winning Race 3 and finishing third overall for the weekend
Todd Kelly is a two-time polesitter at the Surfers Paradise street circuit .* The elder of the Kelly brothers won the V8 Supercar pole position in 2003 and 2006* Rick Kelly's best qualifying on the Gold Coast is third place in 2003, matched in 2009 with third in Sunday morning qualifying
Rick Kelly now seventh in 2011 V8 Supercars Championship points standings
* V8 Supercars stewards announced last Thursday that Rick Kelly has been penalised 25 points as a result of contact between the #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore (driven at the time by Owen Kelly) and the #9 car driven by Daniel Gaunt during the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
JACK DANIEL'S RACING DRIVERS AT SURFERS:
Rick Kelly - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
2010 Saturday Qualifying: 11th2010 Saturday Race: 14th (with Owen Kelly)2010 Sunday Qualifying: 10th2010 Sunday Race: Sixth (with Owen Kelly)
Debut: 2002Events: NineBest Qualifying: Third (2004 and Sunday 2009)Best Race Finish: First (Race 3 2006)Podium Finishes: One (2006 Third Overall)Top 10 Finish in Race: 15
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
2010 Saturday Qualifying: 17th2010 Saturday Race: 20th (with Scott Dixon)2010 Sunday Qualifying: 16th2010 Sunday Race: DNF (with Scott Dixon)
Debut: 2001Events: 10Best Qualifying: Pole (2003 and 2006)Best Race Finish: First (Race 1 2006)Podium Finishes: One (2006 First Overall)Top 10 Finish in Race: 11
Richard Westbrook - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
V8 Supercars Championship debut at 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600.
Jörg Bergmeister - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
V8 Supercars Championship debut at 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600.
RICHARD WESTBROOK - PROFILE
Date of Birth: 10 July 1975Birthplace: Chelmsford, Essex, EnglandLives: Richmond, London, EnglandHeight: 180cmWeight: 74kgCurrent Series: American Le Mans Series, FIA GT1 World Championship and endurance GT racingCurrent Team: Corvette Racing (ALMS), JR Motorsport - Nissan GT-R (FIA GT1), Manthey Racing (Spa 24hr, Nurburgring 24hr, VLN)V8 Supercars Team for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Jack Daniel's RacingTeam-mate for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Todd Kelly
Richard Westbrook was regarded as arguably the premier Porsche driver in the world last decade. In his homeland he was the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain champion in 2004 and runner-up in 2003 and 2005.
In the top-level Porsche Supercup he was champion in both 2006, where he finished every single race on the podium, and 2007. He is one of only three drivers to have won the prestigious title, which supports the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, more than once.
In recent years Westbrook has moved into GT sportscar racing, winning the 2009 FIA GT2 Championship in a Porsche GT2 RSR. After years in Porsche machinery, Westbrook now divides his time between some of the world's premier automotive brands.
In 2011 Westbrook has an enviable driving schedule, one of the factory drivers in Chevrolet's Corvette Racing GT program in the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hour, as well as racing a Nissan GT-R 'Godzilla' in the FIA GT1 World Championship and the odd return for Porsche in the Nurburgring and Spa Francorchamps 24 hour endurance races and British GT Championship. He also piloted a BMW-powered Daytona prototype sportscar at the Daytona 24 hour and drove a Ford GT in the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship.
RICHARD WESTBROOK - CAREER HIGHLIGHTSCHAMPION - 2009 FIA GT2 ChampionshipCHAMPION - 2007 Porsche Supercup CHAMPION - 2006 Porsche Supercup CHAMPION - 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain CHAMPION - 1990 British Karting Championship
RICHARD WESTBROOK - INTERESTING FACTS - His father Tony was a huge inspiration and encouraged him to go karting when he was a child. Tony was the 1972 British Special Saloon Champion in a Cosworth-engined Mini- When he was 9 years old he started his racing career at Snetterton race circuit- At 15 Richard was captain of the English Karting Team, racing in the World Championships against future F1 stars like Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella- Westbrook was runner-up in the McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year in 1994- In 2011 ran his third London Marathon alongside Chevrolet Racing team-mate and countryman Oliver Gavin and other members of the British Racing Drivers' Club in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust- Richard is a keen cook and trained at the Victoria Centre in London, famous as the grad school of Jamie Oliver. If he was not a racing driver, he lists chef and restaurant owner as his dream profession- Richard's former engineer from the Opel Lotus series was David Lloyd who is now the Race Operations Manager of the Ferrari Formula 1 Team- During his first Porsche Supercup Championship winning year, Richard finished on the podium in every race- Westbrook became the first English Porsche factory 'Works' driver since Derek Bell in the 1980s- His favourite bands are LCD Soundsystem, Led Zeppelin and The Dovers
JÖRG BERGMEISTER - PROFILE
Nationality: GermanDate of Birth: 13 February 1976Birthplace: LeverkusenLives: LangerfeldStatus: MarriedChildren: One childHeight: 194cmWeight: 80kgCurrent Series: Official Porsche Motorsport factory driver (racing GT in ALMS and ILMS)Current Team: Flying Lizard (ALMS) and FayV8 Supercars Team for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Jack Daniel's RacingTeam-mate for 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600: Rick Kelly
Jörg Bergmeister is the giant of the 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600 field, standing at 194cm tall. The German is in an exclusive club as one of a handful of Porsche's factory 'works' driver line-up, alongside Patrick Long and Marc Lieb, who will also race aboard a V8 Supercars in Surfers Paradise this October.
Like his Jack Daniel's Racing team-mate Richard Westbrook, Bergmeister is a former Porsche Supercup champion, winning the prestigious title, which runs alongside the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, in 2001.
Bergmeister has dominated GT class racing in the American Le Mans Series recently, taking out that title in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
He has also taken victory at the endurance classics at Le Mans, Daytona, Spa Francorchamps, Sebring and Road Atlanta.
JÖRG BERGMEISTER - CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
CHAMPION - 2010 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)WINNER - 2010 Spa 24 HourCHAMPION - 2009 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)WINNER - 2009 Daytona 24 Hour (GT2 Class)CHAMPION - 2008 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)WINNER - 2008 Sebring 12 Hour (GT2 Class)WINNER - 2007 Petit Le Mans (GT2 Class)CHAMPION - 2006 GrandAm Sportscar Series (Daytona Prototype)CHAMPION - 2006 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)CHAMPION - 2005 American Le Mans Series (GT2 Class)WINNER - 2004 Le Mans 24 Hour (GT Class)WINNER - 2004 Sebring 12 Hour (GT Class)WINNER - 2003 Daytona 24 Hour (GT Class)WINNER - 2002 Daytona 24 Hour (GT Class)CHAMPION - 2001 Porsche SupercupCHAMPION - 2000 Porsche Carrera Cup GermanyCHAMPION - 1993 Formula König
JÖRG BERGMEISTER - INTERESTING FACTS
- At 194cm tall (or 6"4) is taller than Garth Tander, the tallest of the full-time V8 Supercars drivers- Has been an official Porsche works driver since 2002-2004 and 2007-present and has raced almost exclusively in Porsche machinery since 1998- Hobbies include snowboarding and mountain biking- Also has a degree in Economics- Was team-mate to fellow Porsche works driver Patrick Long at Flying Lizard Motorsports aboard a Porsche at the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hour in GTE Pro class- Despite their massive height difference, Bergmeister and Long have shared many victories together, joining forces to win the ALMS GT title in 2005, 2009 and 2010- Bergmeister's GT class win at Le Mans in 2004 was also alongside Long and German Saascha Maassin- His father, Willi Bergmeister, owns a workshop and dealership where Michael Schumacher learned his trade as a car mechanic in the 1980s
2011 V8 Supercars ChampionshipDrivers Points Standings after Race 20 of 28 1. Craig Lowndes 23292. Jamie Whincup 22293. Shane Van Gisbergen 18954. Garth Tander 18485. Mark Winterbottom 16876. Will Davison 16467. Rick Kelly 1638
8. Jason Bright 15029. Alex Davison 144810. Steven Johnson 141113. Greg Murphy 129418. David Reynolds 107224. Todd Kelly 923