British sportscar drivers Richard Westbrook and Oliver Gavin will pay tribute to countryman Dan Wheldon at this weekend's Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar event.
Wheldon tragically passed away following an IndyCar accident in Las Vegas last weekend. He was scheduled to race alongside James Courtney at the Surfers Paradise street circuit this weekend.
Both Westbrook and Gavin are life long friends and rivals of their countryman Wheldon, with all three members of the exclusive British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC).
All six United Kingdom drivers in this weekend's Armor All Gold Coast 600 field today unveiied special visor stickers in memory of Wheldon in pit lane at the Surfers Paradise street circuit.
All BRDC members present at this weekend's event will carry the special visor stripe stickers as a tribute to Wheldon. They are the British drivers Westbrook, Gavin, Andy Priaulx, Marino Franchitti, Richard Lyons and Darren Turner, Australians Ryan Briscoe and Alex Davison, Italian Emanuele Pirro and Brazilian Gil de Ferran.
Westbrook will partner Todd Kelly in the #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore at the Armor All Gold Coast 600, while Gavin will drive alongside Greg Murphy in the #11 Pepsi Max Commodore.
KELLY RACING QUOTEBOARD
RICHARD WESTBROOK - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"I think it was really positive honouring Dan and the great man that he was," said Westbrook.
"Personally, I remember him at a young age when he was karting. When he was about eight years old he came onto the karting scene. I had already been karting for a couple of years and to me he took it to a new level in karting.
"He arguably helped people like Jenson Button get to Formula 1 because Dan took karting to a new level at that time and even though he was younger than me I was super-impressed by him.
"He was so quick, so fast, so professional but a really cheeky chap as well.
"It's just so sad what has happened. I think it's important that we do something to remember his name."
OLIVER GAVIN - #11 Pepsi Max Holden Commodore:
"As soon as the gravity of the situation became apparent with what happened with Dan, every member out here (on the Gold Coast) from the British Racing Drivers' Club wanted to do something to remember Dan," said Gavin.
"So we had these visor stickers made up and every BRDC member is going to carry one on their helmet, which I think is a great tribute to Dan and also to remember that he was a member of the British Racing Drivers' Club and a really high achiever.
"He was the winner of the Gold Star in 2006, which is the highest accolade you can win within our club.
"That year when he won he beat the likes of Jenson Button, Mark Webber and David Coulthard to that Gold Star. When you are beating guys like that you go 'that's pretty impressive'.
"It's great that we could do something to remember him by, but it's with heavy hearts that we are doing it.
"This weekend is going to be a lot about remembering Dan and I know that V8 Supercars is going to be doing something on Saturday to remember, but we wanted to do our own thing as well.
"It's great that we managed to get all of the British drivers together to do a photo and remember him."
DEREK WARWICK - President, British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC):
Statement on Dan Wheldon
"On behalf of the British Racing Drivers' Club I wish to extend my sincere sympathies to Dan's wife Susie and their boys Sebastian and Oliver, as well as the rest of his family and his team following the tragic news of his death in a racing accident yesterday at Las Vegas in the final Indy Car Series round of the year.
The BRDC is extremely proud of Dan and all that he achieved and was achieving in the United States. He was undoubtedly one of the great talents of his generation as his racing results testified. Two victories in the Indy 500 put him in a very select group of drivers and having won the Rookie of the Year honours in 2003 it was no surprise that he should win the Indy Car Championship in 2005. Dan followed this in 2006 by winning the BRDC Gold Star, beating the likes of Jenson Button, Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Dario Franchitti to this coveted award.
Dan was a true professional and a great ambassador for the sport. He was highly focused in the way he approached his racing and a real perfectionist. He pushed himself, and those he worked with, hard to produce results that were worthy of his talents and that fed his insatiable hunger to win. With his film-star good looks and athletic prowess, it was no wonder that the American public took him to their hearts.
In the BRDC we will remember Dan as a great racing driver who was very much involved with the Club and our circuit at Silverstone during the formative years of his career. Dan was, for many years, part of the BRDC 'Rising Stars' young driver programme. So proud of this recognition was he, that even after qualifying to be a Full Member of the BRDC he chose to remain a Rising Star, as he felt it represented what he was and helped the Indy Car world understand where he was set on going; to the very top. As a young driver Dan was also a finalist in the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award on two occasions, which was proof, if it was needed, that great things lay ahead of him.
When Dan did eventually become a Full Member of the BRDC he commented at the time, 'To be included in a group of such great names makes me feel very special. I will do everything that I can to represent the BRDC in a way that makes you all very proud'.
Dan Wheldon was a great ambassador for the BRDC and motor sport generally. He will be hugely missed."
ABOUT THE BRDC
The British Racing Drivers' Club is, arguably, the most exclusive club in motor racing. With a membership that numbers only 850, it is home to the most successful racing drivers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Those who have met the exacting entry criteria have achieved at the highest levels of the sport, or made a significant contribution to enable others to do so.
Membership of the BRDC is highly sought after and extremely difficult to achieve. The list of Members, past and present, reads like a 'Who's Who' of motor sport.
The BRDC owns and operates Silverstone Circuit on the Buckinghamshire/Northamptonshire borders. The Club has been responsible for developing Silverstone into a world-class motor sport venue and promoting top-flight motor sport there for approaching 60 years.
The Club takes it responsibility as 'guardians of British motor sport' very seriously. In addition to maintaining and operating the only circuit currently licensed to run a Grand Prix in Great Britain, the BRDC has for many years fostered young driver talent. That these factors have contributed to Great Britain retaining its high profile and achieving considerable success within motor sport over many years, is a source of great pride to the Club and its Members.
2011 V8 Supercars Championship Drivers Points Standings after Race 20 of 28 1. Craig Lowndes 2329 2. Jamie Whincup 2229 3. Shane Van Gisbergen 1895 4. Garth Tander 1848 5. Mark Winterbottom 1687 6. Will Davison 1646 7. Rick Kelly 1638 8. Jason Bright 1502 9. Alex Davison 1448 10. Steven Johnson 1411 13. Greg Murphy 1294 18. David Reynolds 1072 24. Todd Kelly 923
ARMOR ALL GOLD COAST 600 DETAILS: Circuit: Surfers Paradise street circuit II Location: Gold Coast, Queensland Circuit Length: 2.984 kilometres Qualifying Format: Qualifying session Saturday and Sunday (Top 10 Shootout Saturday only) Race Format: 300km / 102 lap race Saturday and Sunday 2010 Saturday Pole Position Winner: Garth Tander 2010 Saturday Race Winner: Garth Tander and Cameron McConville 2010 Sunday Pole Position Winner: Mark Winterbottom 2010 Sunday Race Winner: Jamie Whincup and Steve Owen
WEEKEND SCHEDULE Times below are Australian Eastern Standard Time - local event time in Queensland (GMT +10 hours). Add one hour for AEDST
Wednesday 19 October 2011 9:00am - 4:00pm: Test Day at Queensland Raceway
Friday 21 October 2011 9:25am - 10:05am: Practice 1 11:35am - 12:15pm: Practice 2 (Co-Drivers Only) 1:35pm - 2:15pm: Practice 3 (Co-Drivers Only) 3:35pm - 4:15pm: Practice 4
Saturday 22 October 2011 9:25am - 10:05am: Qualifying 10:50am - 11:20pm: Top 10 Shootout 1:40pm: Race 1 (Series Race 21) - 102 laps (300km)* *102 laps or one lap after 4:20pm
Sunday 23 October 2011 10:45am - 11:15am: Qualifying 1:40pm: Race 2 (Series Race 22) - 102 laps (300km)* *102 laps or one lap after 4:20pm
AUS TELEVISION SCHEDULE - SEVEN NETWORK Times subject to amendment - please check local guides
All coverage is on the Seven Network primary channel, with simultaneous High Definition coverage on 7mate.
Saturday 22 October 2011 12:00pm - 5:30pm: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane (Eastern DS) 11:30am - 5:00pm: Adelaide, Darwin (Central) 11:00am - 4:30pm: Brisbane (Eastern Standard) 10:00am - 3:30pm: Perth (Western)
Sunday 23 October 2011 11:30pm - 5:30pm: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane (Eastern DS) 11:00am - 5:00pm: Adelaide, Darwin (Central) 10:30am - 4:30pm: Brisbane (Eastern Standard) 9:30am - 3:30pm: Perth (Western)
RACE REPLAYS - SPEED CHANNEL (FOXTEL 505 & 206) Times subject to amendment - please check local guides
Saturday 22 October 2011: 9:30pm - 11:30pm (Race 1 replay) Sunday 23 October 2011: 12:00pm - 2:00pm (Race 1 replay) Sunday 23 October 2011: 9:30pm - 11:30pm (Race 2 replay) Monday 24 October 2011: 9:30am - 11:30am (Race 1 replay) Monday 24 October 2011: 11:30am - 1:30pm (Race 2 replay) Tuesday 25 October 2011: 8:00pm - 10:00pm (Race 1 replay) Tuesday 25 October 2011: 10:00pm - 12:00am (Race 2 replay) Wednesday 26 October 2011: 4:00am - 6:00am (Race 1 replay) Wednesday 26 October 2011: 6:00am - 8:00am (Race 2 replay)
USA TELEVISION SCHEDULE - SPEED CHANNEL Times subject to amendment - please check local guides
Saturday 22 October 2011 11:00pm - 2:00am US Eastern on SPEED
NEW ZEALAND TELEVISION SCHEDULE - TV3 Times subject to amendment - please check local guides
Sunday 23 October 2011 1:30pm - 5:00pm NZL time on TV3