DARWIN, Australia – Michael Caruso will compete with a special World Cup-themed helmet design for the sixth event of the V8 Supercars Championship at Hidden Valley Raceway, near Darwin, this weekend.
The #36 Norton Nissan driver has dedicated his life to being a motor racing his star, but his other great passion in life is soccer. With the World Cup currently underway in Brazil, he has dedicate the design of his helmet to "the world game."
To unveil the helmet, Caruso enjoyed a kick of the football with senior players from Uni Azzurri Football Club, a local Darwin team.
Caruso calls himself an Australian, but with Italian blood running thick through his veins, his helmet features tributes to the Australian "Socceroos" as well as the "Azzurri," Italy's national football team.
The addition of the new helmet has arrived in time for an event fond to Caruso's heart, as Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway was the circuit where he picked up the first race win of his career in 2009.
Caruso, the driver of the #36 Norton Nissan Altima, is Nissan's leading driver in the V8 title chase, currently 13th in the points. He sits one place ahead of Norton teammate James Moffat, with fellow Nissan drivers Rick and Todd Kelly sitting 18th and 24th.
The Darwin event follows the team's first full test day of the year at Winton Motor Raceway, with the session providing an opportunity to experiment with car setups.
The weekend will run to V8 Supercars' Super Sprint format, with a pair of 100km races on Saturday followed by a 200km race on Sunday.
Three 20-minute practice sessions will kick off proceedings on Friday.
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
"Darwin is a special place for me. It's the track where I got my first race win and it's a track that I'm very fond of. It was timely that this event coincided with the start of the Football World Cup, and I've decided to don a new look on my helmet.
"The helmet features some inspiration from Australia, Italy, host nation Brazil, and the top of it is a copy of the actual ball they are using in the tournament.
"I love football, especially around the World Cup. Most of my friends in V8 Supercars always want to talk about Formula 1, NASCAR or Indy Car. But for me, it's all about the world game.
"It was great that we got to test our Norton Nissan at Winton a couple of weeks ago. It was the first test that we'd had since the start of the year, so it was nice to try a bunch of things that we've been sitting on for a few months.
"I'm confident that we've found some gains, but most teams have also tested between Perth and Darwin, so I'm expecting that everyone will have made an improvement during the break."
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
"I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the #360 Norton Nissan. It has been over a month since we raced but it feels like even longer. We'd definitely like to be racing more consistently during the year. I'd race every weekend if I could. With the way the calendar works, that is not possible, but it's a shame there's such big gaps at this time of year.
"We had a test two weeks ago, so that has kept us sharp. Personally, it wasn't a great test for my car, but we tried a lot of things, so we're hoping that we can use that to our advantage. I love heading to Darwin. The weather is always great at this time of year, and it's nice to get away from Melbourne's winter for a week."
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