Brown to skip Japanese GP for the Bathurst 1000

McLaren's executive director Zak Brown will skip the Japanese Grand Prix later this year so he can attend the Bathurst 1000.

Brown to skip Japanese GP for the Bathurst 1000
Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
Zak Brown, Team principal United Autosports

As has been the case in recent years the Suzuka and Mount Panorama races clash on the first weekend of October. However, Brown has already decided that he'll skip Japan and make the long trek to Bathurst to watch over the Walkinshaw Andretti United squad that he part-owns.

The primary motivation, according to Brown, is a long-held desire to check out Australia's biggest Touring Car race.

"I'm gonna do Bathurst. I'll miss the Japanese Grand Prix, I'll go to Bathurst," he confirmed.

"It's obviously the biggest [Supercars] race, a lot of our commercial partners will be there. To me, Bathurst, Le Mans, Indy 500, Monaco, it's of that calibre.

"I've always wanted to go to Bathurst and I think McLaren will survive without me for the weekend.

"They're very comfortable with my racing involvements. McLaren always comes first, but on a race weekend, my role is a leadership role, a commercial role. I'm not helping them make faster pitstops."

Brown added that he plans on getting to a handful of races this year, singling out the Gold Coast 600 despite that it clashes with the Austin F1 race.

"I'm going to hope to get to 3-4 races, and I think Michael [Andretti] is going to get to three or four races. So between the two of us hopefully we'll make half of them," he said.

"Probably Gold Coast, and then maybe one other. [I'm going to] kind of wait for the team to tell me which one they think I can be most useful at."

Andretti and Brown followed Roger Penske's lead and bought into the Aussie Touring Car series last year, teaming up with the former factory Holden squad run by Ryan Walkinshaw.

Andretti has already made an appearance Down Under this year, joining WAU for the season-opener in Adelaide three weeks ago.

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