As the countdown begins to this weekend’s Gold Coast 600 there’s a distinctly international flavour to the event.

And today some of the new faces to the V8s were put through their paces.

Lincoln Humphries reports.

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Some of the world’s best Formula-1 and Indy-car drivers were given a chance to test out their V8s on the Queensland Raceway at Willowbank today ahead of their appearance at this weekend’s Gold Coast 600.

The V8s are a big change for many of the International drivers used to much lighter more maneuverable F1 and Indy cars.

But the inclusion of the overseas superstars is a source of great excitement even for the most experienced drivers.

Craig Lowndes, Team Vodafone: “But to have people like Jacques Villeneuve that you watch growing up as a kid watching Formula 1 and wanting to drive Formula 1, now to have him come to our side of the world, drive our race cars, that’s quite special.”

And even the best in the business are wary of the difficulty of the course especially if the rain hangs around.

Jacques Villeneuve, Former Formula-1 Driver: “On the street course down town it’s always very difficult and very slippery and there’s no margin for error.”

It’s been a real challenge out here at Willowbank for the international drivers in the bigger heavier V8s, but the real challenge will be this weekend at Surfers Paradise where it’s a much smaller tighter track.

Dario Franchitti, Three-time Indy 500 Champion: “On the streets of Surfers there’s really no room for error at all.”

Despite many of the international drivers racing a V8 for the very first time, the Aussies aren’t expecting an easy run.

Steve Johnson, Jim Beam Racing: “They’re professional drivers they’re all experts at what they do.”

But considering their considerable handicap it’s a tall order for the foreigners.

Dario Franchitti, Three-time Indy 500 Champion: “All the Internationals I think to some degree are going to be learning as we go, so to expect a car with an international to win it is stretching it a little bit.”

Lincoln Humphries, QUT News.