Despite having competed at Indianapolis already this season, Will Power has said that this weekend's IndyCar event at Texas Motor Speedway will be his biggest challenge for 2008.

That comment might makes the Australian's result in opening practice at the ultra-fast 1.5-mile tri-oval a little surprising, as he posted the ninth fastest time under the lights on Thursday night, but Power claims that the physically-demanding high-banked venue - where speeds can reach as high as 220mph and an average lap can be as high as 215mph - will be as tough an opponent as anyone he faces on-track.

"It's fair to say that Texas is going to be my biggest challenge for the year," the KVRT.Team Australia rookie insisted, "The track has a reputation of being pretty daunting. There are obviously very high speeds with the steep banking and that's something I am still learning, the oval track racing.

"The racing at Texas is extremely tough. It's three-wide there through the banking in the turns and there is always something happening. You have to be concentrating literally every second of the race. But I'm enjoying the challenge and the goal is to improve from week to week."

The Aussie Vineyards-backed team is looking to jump back into the top ten in the 2008 IndyCar Series standings after fading from a fourth-place start in last weekend's Milwaukee round, and Power produced another encouraging run to take ninth in a practice session badly affected by winds sweeping around the Fort Worth venue.

Texas is only the Team Australia crew's fifth oval race against established IndyCar teams which have significantly more data and experience, but Power is confident that the squad can continue to make strides in closing the gap.

"Our car development is improving from race to race and there are new parts coming with every week," the Long Beach winner revealed, "I am looking forward to the Texas race under the lights. The KVRT Aussie Vineyards crew has a few ovals under our belt now and, while Texas is very different from Milwaukee, the team has done a great job developing the car on ovals.

"This team has really come on strong and is working well together. I am very proud to be a part of this organisation and to be representing Aussie Vineyards and all of our sponsors. I believe that we will win more races before the end of the year.

"Today was a good session for KVRT Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia. We did a lot of race set-ups, which will help. I love the track, it's good fun and I think the race is going to be real interesting. We just need to keep making good progress over the next couple of sessions and see if we can get a good race car."