Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service will be the official charity partner of the 2018 Coates Hire Newcastle 500.
Supercars announced the link on Tuesday at the Service’s Broadmeadow HQ, where drivers Cam Waters and Michael Caruso tested the pilots’ flight simulator.
It’s a partnership that will see the organisation supported for a second consecutive year, after receiving close to $30,000 from last year’s inaugural event.
“The funds raised in the lead up and during the event will help us to continue flying as a free service in our community 24 hours per day, 7 days per week,” Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service chief executive Richard Jones said.
Supercars Newcastle event manager Kurt Zakzewski says the Championship was delighted to continue the partnership with the iconic Hunter rescue service.
“The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service provides an invaluable service to the local and wider community,” Sakzewski said.
“The men and women in this team who put their lives on the line to save others are true heroes.”
Supercars fans will get the chance to meet their heroes this weekend, as anticipation for the second Newcastle 500 builds with a community fan day in Newcastle’s Civic Park.
The day gives Novocastrians an exclusive chance to buy tickets with a 10 per cent discount before they are fully released on Sunday.
Last year’s fan day attracted an estimated 10,000 fans and Supercars are expecting a similar crowd for Saturday’s 10am to 2pm event.
Both Waters and Caruso expressed how eager they are to return to the Newcastle circuit for the final round of the Supercars season.
Caruso, 34, who finished fifth in the Sunday race of last year’s Newcastle 500, commended the helicopter link but joked he hopes he doesn’t see the pilots at work.
“It’s brilliant to see Supercars supporting such a fantastic charity,” he said.
“I know it’s a popular charity amongst Newcastle and the Hunter, so to have that connection with us is fantastic.
“Hopefully when we see them it’s on a nice basis and not with them in the chopper to come and pick us up.”
Sydney-raised Caruso and 23-year-old Waters, of Mildura, were given the reigns to a helicopter simulator and gained a further appreciation of the role the service plays.
“It really give you an appreciation of how hard it is,” Caruso said.
“Particularly in something that everyone admires.
“Watching the guys in the chopper and speaking to them about how passionate they are about their job, the respect they have for the equipment.
“You can see that when you actually have to get in their and do it for yourself, it’s not as easy as it looks, or how they make it look.”
The 2018 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 is on November 23-25.