Will Power will start from third as he once again aims to become Australia’s first Indianapolis 500 winner in this weekend’s iconic motorsports race.
Will Power is once again chasing motorsport history as he aims to become the first Australian driver to win the iconic Indianapolis 500.
The Queenslander starts Sunday’s (Monday AM AEST) 500-mile race from third position on the grid but warns the race is so unpredictable nothing can be taken for granted.
Power is one of seven Australians to have raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since Sir Jack Brabham’s appearance in 1961 and none have been able to better Vern Schuppen’s third place finish in 1981.
The 33-year-old is well aware of that statistic but says it’s personal achievement, not national pride, which will spur him on.
“It’d basically be fantastic to win an Indy 500,” said Power, whose best result in six starts has been fifth.
“It’s such a prestigious race and such a big event. It’d be unbelievable to win there. Australian or not, it’d just be awesome.”
An Australian victory would be poignant, coming days after Brabham’s death on the Gold Coast aged 88.
The three-time Formula One world champion raced four times at “The Brickyard” and was a pioneer in the establishment of rear-engined cars at the venue.
Power said Brabham’s death had touched everyone in the IndyCar championship.
“I was very sad to hear of his passing,” he said.
“The guy was an absolute pioneer in motorsport. He’s Australia’s most successful Formula One driver and just an absolute legend.”
Power goes into the race holding a one-point lead in the IndyCar title battle from 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.
But while his early season form gives him confidence, Power says the Indy 500 is such an unpredictable event it’s all about having everything go right on the day.
“Points are definitely not on anyone’s mind with 10 laps to go in the Indy 500,” he said.
“You can’t think about that stuff when you’re out there, you’ve just got to give the best drive you can in every situation and it’ll be what it’ll be.”
But he likes what he’s learned from practice sessions.
“It’s the best car I’ve had in the past couple of years at this place,” Power said.
“I know I have a really good chance.
“There’s about 20 guys in the field that can win this race it’s crazy.
“It’s so tight it’s difficult to imagine how this race is going to pan out.”
Joining Power on the grid are fellow Australians Ryan Briscoe and James Davison.
Briscoe, the pole position holder at the 2012 Indy 500, will start from 30th on the 33-car grid.
Davison is making his first appearance at the 113-year-old event and will start from 28th.
The 200-lap Indy 500 begins at 12.12pm Sunday (0212 Monday AEST).