Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe will join the field for this year’s Bathurst 1000 as a wildcard entry.
The car will be run by a collaboration between Andretti Autosport and United Autosports under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner for the October 10-13 event.
The Holden ZB Commodore entry will run under No. 27, which has been an Andretti Autosport number with a successful history. Rossi currently uses the No. 27 in the 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 those of Scott Pye and Warren Luff, as well as James Courtney and Jack Perkins.
“It’s 100 percent a bucket list item,” said Rossi. “It’s in one of those six big races alongside the likes of the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bathurst is right up there, so to be able to have this opportunity to do it with Walkinshaw Andretti United and still be close to home with the Andretti Autosport connection is very cool, and I can’t wait to get started.
“It’s going to be a steep learning curve and I’m very aware of that. I’ve got a few friends who are Supercars drivers, so I know how talented the competition is, and how challenging this specific racetrack is, but at the same time it’s a really exciting challenge and something that has been on my target list for a long time. We’re going to go out and do the best we can.
“The team is excellent, there are guys who are going over who I know from the IndyCar program, so with all of that in place and having a great team mate to learn off, and other local guys as well, it’s going to be the best possible recipe to have a successful event.
“As much as we are going to try and put our best foot forward, it’s important for us to enjoy the experience as well, because it’s certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
While the race will be Rossi’s first in a Supercar, Hinchcliffe competed for Garry Rodgers Motorsport at the Gold Coast 600 in 2012.
“Bathurst is one of those bucket list things,” he said. “As drivers we look back at the era of guys like Mario (Andretti) jumping in a different car every weekend, the nature of the sport now is quite different and it’s not quite as easy to do that. When these opportunities come up you want to jump at them and really grab a hold of them.
“The Gold Coast race some years ago was a huge blast and a bucket list thing to, but for Supercars the Bathurst 1000 is their Indy 500, it is their 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s their hallmark event, so to get to add that one to the résumé is very special.
“For sure it’s a big ask, we are neophytes to the car, to the track, to everything involved, but I think we are both competitive and Alex is an immensely talented guy, a very driven guy, and together we can push ourselves and the team and hopefully not make ourselves look too silly.”
The pair will have a three-day test at Winton on October 1-3 to gain some familiarity with the car ahead of the 1000.