When it comes to American open-wheel racing, few boast a CV better than Brisbane-born Kiwi Dixon.
IndyCar titles in 2003, 2008, 2013, 2015 and 2018. Yep, that’s five. An Indianapolis 500 victory from pole position in 2008. He was the first – and remains only – New Zealander to win the famous race.
Dixon is the third winningest driver in American championship cars history (46) and trails only AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti on the all-time list. Racing names don’t come bigger than those two.
Put simply, Dixon is IndyCar’s benchmark. The 39-year-old has won at least one race for fifteen seasons in a row between 2005 and 2019. Such is his status, that this year, he was promoted to Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queens Birthday Honours – a decade after he was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to motorsport.
Dixon has previously won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona twice. He’s no stranger to endurance racing. However, as a Kiwi, Dixon also knows all about Mount Panorama, and has in fact raced a Supercar on the Gold Coast for Kelly’s team in 2010.
Mount Panorama is one of few circuits in world motorsport which truly tests the character of the best drivers, and Dixon is motivated to take the challenge head-on in the January 31-February 2 event, which will be broadcast live and ad-break free on Fox Sports.
“I have never raced at Bathurst before, but I’ve watched races at the Mount Panorama Circuit back when I was a teenager,” said Dixon, who tested the R-Motorsport Aston Martin GT3 in Portugal with Kelly and Dennis.
“What I like most about the circuit is the high commitment, especially across the top, the high speed passages and then down the chase and all the way to the last corner.
“It’s much like a street course with the concrete walls and the very confined spots. You need an extremely good flow. I’ve done GT racing as such with the four Le Mans 24 hours races and other endurance events, but never GT3.
“I love doing the long distance races. It complements quite well with the IndyCar series at the moment to do Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h, but also Petit Le Mans, which was the first endurance race I did back in 1999.”
Dixon will have a great mentor in 2006 Supercars champion and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Kelly, who will return to the 12 Hour for the first time since 2016.
Dixon drove alongside Kelly’s older brother and 2005 Bathurst 1000 winner Todd at the 2010 Gold Coast Supercars event.
Alongside DTM ace Dennis, who has tested Red Bull Racing F1 cars and impressed to second in the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour, Dixon has all the ingredients required to make his maiden competitive Bathurst visit a good one.
“I’m stoked to work with Scott again, we know him best for his Indy achievements but his efforts in our Supercar at the Gold Coast a few years back were outstanding considering he hadn’t driven that car before so I’m sure he’ll be on top of the Aston in no time,” said Kelly.
R-Motorsport team principal Dr Florian Kamelger added: “We are fielding the best possible combination of drivers at Bathurst with Australian Supercars champion and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Rick Kelly, and Scott Dixon, who is a five-time IndyCar champion and winner of the 500-Mile Indianapolis, plus Jake Dennis, DTM newcomer and runner-up from 2019.
“We are delighted that stars such as Rick and Scott will be there to boost our efforts in the Bathurst project and would like to thank our partners, Castrol and BP, for their amazing support.
“They are the ones, who have made it possible for us to take part in this sensational race in the first place. After our excellent second place finish at the start of this year, another podium finish in the endurance classic in 2020 would be a dream result.”