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His career in Formula One may have been fleeting but Christian Klien looks to have found a new niche in Touring Cars having been confirmed for two of Australia's most iconic motorsport events.
Pairing up with former V8 Supercar champion Russell Ingall, Klien is set co-drive the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 events towards the end of the year.
Klien first raced a V8 Supercar, having taken part in the Gold Coast 600, last season. It gave the 29-year-old a taste for racing in Australia, which in February saw him take part in a 12-Hour production car race at the iconic Bathurst circuit. "When I did the Indy race, the Gold Coast 600, everyone was talking about this track," he told Pitpass at the time.
That weekend he was behind the wheel of a Lotus Exige, though simply taking part wasn't the only reason he was there. "It was perfect to learn the circuit, have a good time here... I was doing that because one eye is on going down to the V8 Supercars, which I really enjoyed.
"It's really good close racing. You can overtake, the cars are almost the same so everyone has a fair chance," he continued. "I just love the way they run the race weekend. It's a bit like in America; it's very relaxed but at the same time very high level and very professional."
Now confirmed alongside Ingall the former Red Bull and Jaguar driver looks to have achieved at least part of his ambition.
"Christian is a world-class driver who's reached racing's pinnacle in Formula One," explained Ingall. "The pressure's going to be on, but Christian's used to that. He's the sort of bloke we wanted on our team."
"After the Gold Coast I was determined to come back and do more V8 races," Klien said of today's announcement. "Mount Panorama is one of the world's greatest circuits and the Bathurst 1000 is world-famous; it's a must-do race in any racing driver's career."
That career may have steered Klien away from Formula One, though, as Pitpass found out in February, that's no bad thing. Since leaving Formula One the Austrian, who was once the darling of Red Bull's Driver Programme, seems to have found a new lease of life and renewed enthusiasm for motor sport.
It proves there really is a world outside Formula One after all.
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