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Webber’s Sydney Harbour Bridge Overdrive

Australia’s most recognisable landmark, a symbol of Australian youth, vitality and sporting prowess, and state-of-the-art motoring technology will come together when Mark Webber drives his BMW WilliamsF1 race car over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Bidding to be Australia’s next Grand Prix winner and Formula One world champion, in the tyre tracks of Sir Jack Brabham and Alan Jones, Webber will cross the Bridge in the BMW WilliamsF1 car on the morning of Sunday, February 27.

The early morning run comes exactly one week before the 28-year-old from Queanbeyan, New South Wales, makes his race debut with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in Melbourne at the FORMULA 1™ Foster’s Australian Grand Prix.

NSW Premier Bob Carr will flag off the nation’s star driver in what will be called Webber’s Sydney Harbour Bridge Overdrive, an event guaranteed to draw worldwide attention to Sydney and Australia, Webber and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team.

Australia’s Formula One telecaster, Network 10, will screen Webber’s Sydney Harbour Bridge Overdrive live in a special half-hour show from 8am on February 27, with the TV and stills pictures to be distributed globally within hours.

Mark Webber said today: “It’s sure to be an incredible experience driving the BMW WilliamsF1 car across one of the world’s most famous and spectacular landmarks.

“The Sydney Harbour Bridge is instantly recognisable as Australia, so I can’t think of a better appetiser for the following weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

“For me it’s even more special as it’s my home country and I’m very proud that we are able to stage such a spectacle to promote Formula One, not just in Australia but around the world.

“A lot of people may come up to Sydney from my home town, Queanbeyan, so it will be great to be able to put on a good show for them and the rest of the fans before we get down to serious business in Melbourne.

“It will be a fantastic promotion - and hopefully spectacle - to be involved in, but I’ll be saving the speed for the following weekend in the Grand Prix.

“Safety comes first, second and third in Formula One and, while the racing might be fast, it is conducted in an environment where every safety consideration is given prominence.

“I always encourage all road users to give safety their full consideration on every journey.”

“BMW Group Australia is delighted to be involved in an historic moment for motorsport in Australia,” said John Kananghinis, General Manager, Marketing and Communications, BMW Group Australia.

“We are sure Mark Webber will never forget driving his BMW WilliamsF1 racer across this international landmark.

“By crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Mark is also crossing over to a new era in his career. BMW Group Australia has been a long-time supporter of Mark and hopes that BMW Power will drive him to many victories in the near future.

“It has been 25 years since an Australia Formula 1 driver has been in a position to challenge for top honours in this sport and we are sure that he will do us all proud."

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest single-span arch bridge in the world. The sweeping steel curve is 503 metres long, 134 metres high and 49 metres wide.

Flanked by four towering concrete and granite pylons, it is the centrepiece of the transport network in Sydney – Australia’s largest city, with a population of four million and blessed with arguably the world’s most beautiful harbour.

The Bridge contains 52,800 tonnes of steel and includes six million rivets.

Opened in March 1932, the Bridge is an enduring and instantly recognisable symbol of Sydney and played a big part in the city’s celebration of the Millennium and the Olympic Games in 2000.

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team is one of the icons of modern Formula One motor racing. It has won the constructors’ world championship nine times and seven men have won the drivers’ world championship in Williams cars – the first of them being Australian Alan Jones in 1980.

The team’s other world champion drivers have been Keke Rosberg of Finland, Nelson Piquet of Brazil, Alain Prost of France, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill of Great Britain, and Jacques Villeneuve of Canada.

Williams won the final Grand Prix of the 2004 season in Brazil, and Webber joins the Oxfordshire-based team whose cars are powered by V10 engines manufactured by Germany’s BMW as he begins his fourth year in the highest echelon of world motor sport.

Formula One is the world’s biggest global sport apart from soccer football, with each round of the annual FIA Formula One World Championship watched by hundreds of millions of television viewers.

Melbourne’s celebration of its 10th year of hosting Formula One will kick off with a Street Parade involving F1 cars in the Victorian capital on Wednesday, March 2, with the Grand Prix to be held at the Albert Park circuit on March 3-6.

Webber began his Formula One career with a memorable fifth place for the Minardi team of fellow Australian expatriate Paul Stoddart at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

He has now competed in 50 GPs and, while that debut result remains his highest-placed finish in the sport, he has earned enormous international respect and credibility for his performances to date.

To have been chosen in the middle of last year to drive for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team was an acknowledgement of the standing the Australian driver has attained and he will now have a Formula One car, and team around him, capable of challenging the Ferrari of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher of Germany.

Webber’s Sydney Harbour Bridge Overdrive has come together at the initiative of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and with the support of the NSW Government and traffic and transport agencies.

The Bridge will be closed to all traffic, including pedestrians, for Webber’s Overdrive, which will be run under strict safety conditions.

The best public viewing area will be Hickson Rd Reserve at The Rocks, where Network 10’s live footage will be shown on a superscreen.

For general inquiries contact Geoffrey Harris, Media Manager, Australian Grand Prix Corporation. Tel. 0407 566 507 or 03 9258 7153.

For general public transport information visit www.131500.com.au or call information line 131 500.

For traffic, road closure and special event clearway information visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au/newsevents or call RTA’s traffic information line 132 701.

Webber will be at the reserve for a short time from around 8.50am.

My Photography Gallery: http://www.csphotography.com.au/
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