V8 Supercars organisers in Australia are celebrating the news that the forthcoming Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 races have been picked up for extended coverage by the US cable sport channel SPEED.
As a result, SPEED will be sending a big name commentary team to the famed Bathurst 1000, with three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Darrell Waltrip joining his NASCAR on FOX colleague Mike Joy and SPEED announcer Leigh Diffey to bring coverage of the event to North America.
"I've watched some of [the V8] races on SPEED and it's some of the best racing I have ever seen," said Waltrip, who is also well known for providing the race commentary in the Disney.Pixar Cars
films. "It is some of the most aggressive road course racing I have ever watched ... These guys don't mess around. They race the entire race like the last 10 laps of a Cup race and I just watch with my jaw hanging open."
Diffey, originally from Brisbane and who covered V8 Supercars in Australia for ten years, dubbed the 620-mile Bathurst 1000 as "Downunder's Daytona 500." The race takes place at Mount Panorama in New South Wales, Australia on October 8.
"It's an iconic, gruelling and awe-inspiring race that only rewards the best," said Diffey. "I am so thrilled to be going to the mountain again and especially this time wearing a SPEED shirt."
SPEED will also be providing the US with live coverage of the Gold Coast 600 from the street circuit at Surfers Paradise on October 22, with a field of big name co-drivers already signed up that includes Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon
and Tony Kanaan as well as home-grown Aussie heroes Will Power and Ryan Briscoe.
As part of the deal, V8 organisers will be providing SPEED with a purpose-built set in pit lane for both events, and will convert all race graphics from the kilometres/litres metric system used in Australia to the miles/gallons measurements understood by Americans. SPEED will share the resources of V8 Supercars Television, which produces the live pictures for the Seven Network in Australia.
"Our sport is acting locally and growing globally every single month. We are on the march internationally and being recognised as such," said V8 Supercars Chairman Tony Cochrane, who said he was particularly excited to see Waltrip, Joy and Diffey fronting the coverage at Bathurst.
"In North America and world motorsport these guys are seriously big names ... the absolute best of the best," said Cochrane. "Their voices are synonymous with sport and having them here is as much a coup as getting the very best drivers to come out, as we have also done for the Gold Coast 600."
The extended coverage comes after the announcement in July
that V8 Supercars are to race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas from 2013 - the first time any Australian sport has held a championship or points-scoring event on American soil.
As well as benefiting the series, teams and their sponsors, the extended US TV coverage of the event is also very good news for the local region.
"These pictures alone, money can't buy and will give millions of Americans a bird's eye view of one of the world's greatest tourist destinations, showcasing Queensland as the champion state and the events state," said Queensland's Sport Minister Phil Reeves.