Mark Webber could return to the tracks of his native Australia as world champion, adding lustre to the first-ever Perth Festival of Speed, if plans for him to reset the lap record come to fruition.
Western Australia Sporting Car Club competitions manager Raymond Shaw has confirmed that event promoter Terry Mader has already booked the V8 Supercar venue at Barbagallo and lined up a wide range of supporting attractions, but Webber's appearance would clearly be the headline act for the 28 November spectacle. Shaw insists that Mader has secured the Australian's presence, although Webber's Sydney-based manager Ben Hartman reveals only that his client would be 'in Australia' at the time, two weeks after the F1 season is due to end - with Webber's possible coronation - in Abu Dhabi.
The Australian currently heads the F1 world championship standings, and is on pole for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, but faces four high-profile rivals, including his own Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel, in the seven-race showdown that will unfold between now and the middle of November.
“It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” Shaw admitted, “We've checked with our governing body, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, checked with FIA and Formula One to ensure the activity could take place, and that the venue is safe for the activity. That's all been confirmed and okay.”
Webber's presence, should it happen, will be another boost for Barbagallo, which recently secured $10.5m in government funding in order to make improvements to the infrastructure required to remain on the V8 schedule after this year's event was axed in February. It will also provide Perth residents with an appropriate replacement to the 2011 Red Bull Air Race event which was cancelled due to safety concerns.
Shaw believes that Webber would do three demonstration runs in his pursuit of a new lap record, while other high-profile combinations, headed by 'a couple of V8 Supercar teams' would also be looking to set new marks as Mader attempts to recreate a 'down under' version of the UK's Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“Goodwood is a bit too much of a vintage event,” Mader claimed, "What we're aiming for is 80 per cent modern-generation, [the] latest Porsches, Ferraris, power cars and bikes.”
Interestingly, Mader intends to transfer the event from Barbagallo to a temporary street track in 2011.
While Webber is being lined up for Barbagallo, meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton is being tipped to make a demonstration run at Amsterdam's Schipol airport.
According to gpupdate.net
, the 2008 world champion, among Webber's rivals for the 2010 crown, is set to entertain VIP guests on 13 September, one day after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.