Ryan Briscoe might have been born and raised in Sydney, but is relishing the chance to show his countrymen what he can do, having spent most of his racing career competing abroad.
Despite winning three national karting championships as a youth, Briscoe moved to Europe to race in Formula Renault before winning the inaugural F3 Euroseries title and acting as test driver for the Toyota F1 team. Unable to break into the top flight, however, he took a chance on moving to America, where he has run successfully in both the IndyCar and American Le Mans Series.
Now, following the unification of the disparate IndyCar and Champ Car series, he finally gets a rare chance to return home when he contests the Nikon Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise – about 600 miles north of his birthplace - on 26 October.
“I really haven't done a lot of racing in Australia,” said Briscoe, who took over the #6 Team Penske machine this season, claiming two victories and three poles on his return to the IndyCar Series, "I started out in go-karts, but moved to Europe at 15 and really raced in Europe and America my whole career.
"I've only done the Champ Car race [in 2006] and a support class race for the Australian Grand Prix in 2002. They're the only two races I've ever done in my own country outside of the junior go-kart level.”
The opportunity to race in Australia also affords the 27-year old an opportunity to see friends and family while away from the track and to get a jump start on the 2009 season on the track.
“It's going to be good,” Briscoe said, “I'm going to get to spend a couple of days at home before and after the race, and I'm going to have some friends and family at the race. But I also think it's going to be a good opportunity for us to prepare for the first two races of next year. It's a street course, and the first two races next season are street courses. I've got a new engineer, so it's going to be a real good chance to get a bit of a head start going into '09.
"The Nikon Indy 300 is a great event. I've been there and not racing before, and it's definitely a big party. Sunday night should be fun, the beach is great and, when the weather is nice, it's just a beautiful place, a good time, but I'm going to have to be going down there focused on the job.”