So French champion Alexandre Premat has added penguin power to his impressive assault on the V8 Supercar Championship by bringing Phillip Island local 'Philippe' into his camp ahead of his debut at the world class circuit.
Premat has continued to impress after being drafted by Fujitsu Racing GRM boss Garry Rogers this season with his anticipated debut at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit set to be his best given the fast flowing European style circuit.
With his young family settling in to Victorian life Premat has already claimed Phillip Island as a home away from home, and has now adopted Philippe, who is named after both the island and his father.
The new addition to the Premat family was made as part of the announcement that the Penguin Foundation would be the official event charity of the Phillip Island 300. Alex, his wife Cleo and daughters Zoe and Sasha also built a penguin box, which will be placed on the Summerland Peninsula among the other penguin boxes, for Philippe to use.
The Fujitsu Racing GRM driver is the first V8 Supercar driver to adopt a penguin on Phillip Island, and he said he was privileged to be able to contribute to the conservation of penguins and their habitat. "They are fantastic little creatures," said Alex. "They are really interesting and very cute my children love them.
The former DTM and sportscar driver is in his first season of Australian motorsport, and hopes to come to grips with the Phillip Island circuit as easily as he has with the penguins. "It is a big, fast track like we have in Europe," said Alex. "From the moment I got into a V8 Supercar I have been good in the fast corners the team have been saying to me, 'just wait until you get to Phillip Island'.
"The cars are very different from what I have been used to the power and the brakes are very similar, however there is much less downforce, which really changes the way you have to drive the cars. The Phillip Island 300 event will be on track May 18-20, with a new sprint race format seeing a 140km race on Saturday and 200km race on Sunday.
The best in touring cars is joined by the best in two-wheel racing with the Australian Superbikes returning once again. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult, making the event a great family day out, and there is plenty of entertainment including the Disney-Pixar CARS Truck Tour, featuring Mack the Transporter, and for the first time a life-sized Lightning McQueen will appear at the event on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are now on sale now from Ticketek outlets, online at Ticketek.com.au, or by phoning 132 849. On circuit camping is also available for those wanting to make a great weekend out of the event.