IndyCar frontrunners Will Power and Tony Kanaan have both announced that they will not travel to Australia to compete in this weekend’s V8 Supercars round at Surfers Paradise, with both citing today’s fatal accident for fellow IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, who was himself scheduled to contest the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600.
The announcement could trigger further withdrawals from the four remaining IndyCar drivers who were locked in for this weekend’s unique two-race event.
While Kanaan – winner of the tragic 12-lap ‘race’ at Las Vegas – confirmed his non-appearance via Twitter, Power’s absence is medically-based. The Australian suffered back bruising as a result of his involvement in the high-speed multi-car shunt, and he has been declared unfit to compete.
The news will now see V8 Supercars organisers now scrambling to fill three vacant race seats at short notice, although a replacement for Power has already been found in the form of sports car racer Richard Lyons. The Irishman will partner Mark Winterbottom in the #5 Ford Performance Racing entry.
The identities of the replacements for Kanaan (who was partnering Jason Bargwanna in the Jana Living Holden) and Dan Wheldon (co-driver to James Courtney in the HRT Holden) are not yet known.
Equally, what this news means for the participation of the other IndyCar drivers who are locked in – including Ryan Briscoe, Alex Tagliani, Helio Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais – is also not yet known.
Either way, event organisers have promised to provide racegoers and competitors with a party-style event that would celebrate Wheldon’s way as only the Englishman would have wanted.
[Images via LAT]
UPDATE: V8 Supercars officials have just confirmed that Danish GT driver Allan Simonsen will take over Tony Kanaan’s vacant seat at the Brad Jones / Jana Living Holden Commodore alongside Jason Bargwanna.
The structure of the Gold Coast 600 means that only ‘international series’ drivers who have not contested any other V8 race that season are allowed to partner the championship’s established runners. However, the force majeure circumstances and short lead-up time have meant that Lyons and Simonsen, despite having competed in the L&H 500 at Phillip Island and the Bathurst 1000, will be given dispensation to compete at Surfers Paradise.