Will Power

Full Name:
William Stephen Power
Born:
1st March 1979 (Age 40)
Toowoomba, Queensland
Nationality:
Australian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

This improbably named Queenslander raced against his father (Bob) in Formula Holden before trying his luck in Europe. Now established as a star of America’s open-wheel racing scene, the personable Will Power became the first Australian to win the Indianapolis 500 when he won the 2018 edition of the famous old race.

Early racing career and move to Europe

Runner-up in national Formula Ford (2001) and F3 (2002), Power won Australia’s 2002 Formula Holden Championship before moving to England to race in the 2003 British F3 Championship. He began the year in Diamond Racing’s Ralt F303-Mugen but had switched to Fortec’s Dallara F303-Renault by the time he finished second at Thruxton. He joined Alan Docking Racing for 2004 to finish ninth overall when second (at Silverstone and twice at Knockhill) was again his best race result.

Power tested an F1 Minardi PS04B-Cosworth at Misano that winter before winning races for Carlin in the 2005 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship. Australia’s driver in the inaugural A1GP race weekend at Brands Hatch, he finished second in round two.

Champ Cars with Team Australia

He made his Champ Car debut at Surfers Paradise in 2005 for Team Australia and remained with the Derrick Walker-managed squad in 2006. Third in Mexico and on pole position in front of his home crowd at Surfers, Power finished sixth overall to take that year’s Rookie of the Year honours.

Champ Cars was in the final throws of its war with the Indy Racing League at the time but Power made the most of 2007 by winning the opening round in Las Vegas and again in Toronto. Fourth in the championship that year, he intended to continue with KV Racing but the series entered administration with its competitors (including the Australian) transferred to the strengthened IRL. There was one last hurrah however for Power won the final Champ Car race in history – the one-off 2008 Long Beach Grand Prix.

IndyCar success with Penske

When Hélio Castroneves needed to (successfully) defend charges of tax evasion at the start of 2009, Power was drafted in as his temporary replacement in Penske Racing’s IndyCar squad. The Australian qualified on pole position at Long Beach and Edmonton and converted the latter into his maiden IndyCar victory.

A full-time member of the team in 2010, Power won five times on street and road courses to finish as an impressive runner-up just five points behind Dario Franchitti. He began 2011 by qualifying on pole for the first four races and winning twice. Four more victories followed but Power was beaten to the title by Franchitti once more in the tragic Las Vegas finale. He was hospitalised in the horrendous accident that claimed Dan Wheldon’s life with Power confirmed as runner-up.

The class of the field at the start of 2012, he won three of the first four races to take a stranglehold in the points. That run came to a violent end when Mike Conway collected him during the Indianapolis 500. While Power did not win again, he still entered the final round 17 points ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay. However, he crashed out at Fontana to finish runner-up for a third successive season.

He remained among the quickest drivers in the series but did not feature in the 2013 title fight. Invariably a strong qualifier, he suffered on raceday at the start of the season and it was June before he finished in the top three. But he won three of the last five races to clinch fourth in the standings and remind pundits of his title-winning potential.

Indycar champion at last

Having come so close during his decade racing at the top of North American open wheel competition, Power finally came good in 2014. He won the opening race at St Petersburg and finished in the top 10 for the first half of the season. That included another win in Detroit before a mid-season slump and several penalties for blocking and speeding in the pitlane saw his points lead overhauled by Penske team-mate Castroneves. However, victory from pole position at Milwaukee proved decisive and Power clinched a first Indycar title by coming from the back of the grid to finish ninth in the final round at Fontana.

The reigning champion qualified on the front row for 11 of the 16 Indycar rounds of 2015 but that consistent pace was not always translated into hard results. He won the Indianapolis GP and finished a career-best second in the Indy 500 itself. But he did not score another podium finish and slumped to third in the final standings.

He was in the hunt once more in 2016 despite missing the opening race through concussion. A mid-season purple patch during which he finished first or second for six races in a row meant Power challenged Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud until the final round. He won four times but ultimately lost out to the Frenchman when championship runner-up for a fourth time.

Historic victories at Indianapolis

Power counted the Indianapolis Grand Prix among his three victories during 2017 but first lap incidents and a puncture while dominating at Barber stymied another title charge. He repeated that Indianapolis road course victory to deliver Team Penske’s 200th IndyCar race win. He then beat Ed Carpenter in the Indianapolis 500 itseld to become the first driver to win both events at the Speedway, and the first Australian to win North America’s most famous race. Chevrolet’s inferior fuel mileage limited his performance thereafter, especially on ovals, but he passed both Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi to score a third victory of the season at St Louis’ Gateway Park. Gearbox issues thwarted his challenge at Portland and Power completed the season by coming third in the standings.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2019 NTT IndyCar Series
Team Penske
5 2 1 0
0% win rate
119
2018 Verizon IndyCar Series
Team Penske
17 4 8 3
18% win rate
3rd 582
2017 Verizon IndyCar Series
Team Penske
17 6 7 3
18% win rate
5th 562
2016 Verizon IndyCar Series
Team Penske
15 (1) 2 7 4
27% win rate
2nd 532
2015 Verizon IndyCar Series
Team Penske
16 6 3 1
7% win rate
3rd 493
2014 Verizon IndyCar Series
Team Penske
18 4 7 3
17% win rate
1st 671
2013 IZOD IndyCar Series
Team Penske
19 4 4 3
16% win rate
4th 498
2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
Team Penske
15 5 6 3
20% win rate
2nd 465
2011 IZOD IndyCar Series
Team Penske
17 (1) 8 9 6
36% win rate
2nd 555
2010 IZOD IndyCar Series
Team Penske
17 8 9 5
30% win rate
2nd 597
2009 IRL IndyCar Series
Penske Racing
Team Penske
6 2 3 1
17% win rate
19th 215
2008 IRL IndyCar Series
KV Racing Technology
Team Australia Racing
17 0 1 1
6% win rate
12th 331
2007 Champ Car World Series
Team Australia Racing
14 5 5 2
15% win rate
4th 263
2006 Champ Car World Series
Team Australia Racing
14 1 1 0
0% win rate
6th 213
2005/2006 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport
Alan Docking Racing
2 0 1 0
0% win rate
16
2005 Champ Car World Series
Team Australia Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 17
2005 Formula Renault V6 World Series
Carlin Motorsport
14 (1) 3 4 2
15% win rate
7th 64
2002 Australian Formula Holden Championship 1st -