Kelly Racing will boast a star international driver with previous V8 Supercar experience with the signing of IndyCar ace Alex Tagliani for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 on the Gold Coast on October 22-24 this year.

Tagliani will compete at the revamped endurance event on the Surfers Paradise street circuit with either Jason Bargwanna in the #11 Rock Holden Commodore or Tony Ricciardello in the #16 Stratco Holden Commodore.

Tagliani is a veteran of the North American open-wheel racing scene, with 14 podiums and a race win to his name, including nine starts and two third places finishes at Surfers Paradise.

Tagliani is excited to be heading back to the Gold Coast, where he met his Australian wife Bronte while racing at the iconic event.

"The Gold Coast is one of the most special places in the world for me - it was where I met my Australian wife, Bronte," said Tagliani. "I have also had some good results over the years, including a third for Team Australia in 2006 in a Champ Car."

Tagliani raced for WPS Racing at the V8 Supercar endurance events at Sandown and Bathurst in 2005 partnering Marcus Marshall, giving him vital prior knowledge of the unique characteristics of a V8 Supercar ahead of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 this October.

"In 2005 I drove at Bathurst with Marcus Marshall in the V8 Supercar," said Tagliani. "That gave me a taste of V8 Supercar racing, which I have been keen to experience again as the V8 Supercars are one of the great categories of world racing.

"After that experience racing with Marcus Marshall, I have made no secret of the fact that I would like to spend a couple of seasons racing V8s in Australia once my open-wheel career is finished.

"This event will be a good thing for my CV - and I guess for a few other drivers who will be lining up from countries all over the world. I am very much looking forward to racing in the same team as my buddy Jason Bargwanna with Kelly Racing."

Bargwanna said that he was pleased to have a driver of Tagliani's pedigree in the Kelly Racing squad for the Gold Coast event, noting his V8 Supercar experience will give him a head start on many of the other international drivers.

"Of all the blokes on all the list of international drivers, 'Tags' fits the mould perfectly," said Bargwanna. "He has driven these cars, which means that he is well aware of what to expect, like how they handle and even sitting on the right-hand side of the car.

"He's raced at Bathurst and did quite well there, so he is well equipped to run well on the Gold Coast. He also knows the circuit very well and has been fast there and scored podiums. The IndyCar guys are confident on street circuits because they race on them quite a lot.

"As a team we are really happy to welcome Tags aboard for the Gold Coast event and he's a great pick-up for our squad."

Bargwanna, who is a previous event winner on the Gold Coast, is excited about the new event format.

"The Gold Coast has always been a big event," said Bargwanna. "I guess I will hold the last pole on old full-length circuit so I'll be keen to be just as quick on the shorter circuit, which is not too different.

"I love the event up there and I've always done well on the Gold Coast, in V8s and even in my days in Formula Ford. The introduction of an endurance event and the superstar drivers from around the world just makes it even more exciting and I'm really looking forward to heading there this October."

The Gold Coast event was staged as an Indycar/Champ Car event from 1991 to 2008, with V8 Supercars and the open-wheelers sharing equal billing for most of that period.

At the re-launched event this year, which will be held on a shortened version of the Surfers Paradise street circuit, each V8 Supercar team will be require to field one star 'international' driver in its four driver line-up (two per car) for the two 300 kilometre races to be held over the weekend.



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