NTT IndyCar Series drivers Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe were named Thursday to a wildcard entry to compete in the 2019 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 for Walkinshaw Andretti United, in collaboration with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports. The Australian race is Oct. 10-13.
A naming rights partner of the entry is yet to be announced, as the team looks to align with a high-profile brand for the biggest day in Australian motorsport. Importantly, both William Sandbrook and Virgin Australia have thrown their support behind the program.
William Sandbrook, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Concrete, will personally support the entry of the car, which will be used to promote U.S. Concrete’s international products, WheresMyConcrete and Polaris Materials’ Orca High Performance Concrete Aggregates.
Virgin Australia will not only ensure the drivers and international crew make it to Bathurst and back, but it will also use the Wildcard to help promote Australia-to-Los Angeles flights.
In a complete collaboration between all facets of Walkinshaw Andretti United, engineering and mechanical staff for the entry will be sourced from Walkinshaw Andretti United staff locally, as well as Andretti Autosport and United Autosports employees, who will also make the trek to Australia for the race.
The Holden ZB Commodore entry will run under No. 27, which, historically has been an Andretti Autosport number with a successful history. Rossi currently uses the No. 27 in the NTT IndyCar Series, Hinchcliffe also ran it during his time with the team, while it is also seen on Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights and Formula E entries.
It will form the third car out of the Walkinshaw Andretti United stable, alongside both Mobil 1 MEGA Racing entries of Scott Pye and Warren Luff, as well as James Courtney and Jack Perkins.
Rossi, 27, hails from Nevada City, Calif., and drives the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS-backed Andretti Autosport Indy car. It was recently announced that Rossi will continue to call Andretti Autosport home after extending his tenure on a multi-year extension with the team alongside longtime partners NAPA AUTO PARTS and AutoNation.
Rossi began his motorsport career in the U.S. before moving to Europe as a teenager to pursue a career in Formula 1. Successful GP2, GP3 and Formula BMW Campaigns led him to five Formula 1 starts for Marussia between 2014 and 2015. After returning back to America in 2016, Rossi won the 2016 Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport on debut, and was later named the series’ 2016 Rookie of the Year. Since then, he has added six wins to his IndyCar résumé and currently sits second in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship.
Hinchcliffe, 32, who was born in Ontario, Canada, drives the No. 5 IndyCar entry for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Like Rossi, Hinchcliffe worked his way up through the open-wheel ranks through categories like Formula BMW and the Star Mazda Series, represented Canada in the A1 Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007, before graduating from Indy Lights into the IndyCar series in 2011.
Hinchcliffe spent three seasons with Andretti Autosport (2012-2014), which included his first IndyCar win at St. Petersburg in 2013. To date, his IndyCar career has yielded six wins.
The 2019 Bathurst 1000 won’t be Hinchcliffe’s first experience behind the wheel of a Supercar. He raced for Gary Rogers Motorsport at the 2012 Gold Coast 600.
For Rossi, it will be the first time he gets behind of the wheel of a Supercar. However, he has a brief history in sports cars, having raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013, the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2014, while more recently running the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring in 2019.
Before they tackle Bathurst, the drivers will have three-day test at Winton Raceway on Oct. 1-3, a chance for them to become accustom to the 650hp beast.
Next up for the NTT IndyCar Series is Sunday's race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The ABC Supply 500 is the first of four races to close the 2019 season. NBCSN will have the television coverage at 2 p.m. ET (green flag at 2:45 p.m. ET). The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network provides the radio call, with coverage on SiriusXM Radio (XM 209, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970). Qualifying is Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (delayed on NBCSN until 2:30 p.m.).