This year’s 12-day, 7,000km 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial visits South Australia only briefly on its course from Birdsville to Innamincka, but that hasn’t stopped two of that State’s high-profile organisations taking major positions on its sponsorship board.

Pilatus, the World’s largest manufacturer of single-engine turboprop aircraft and Peter Lehmann Wines, one of the Barossa Valley’s premium wine producers, will both support the event which starts in Alice Springs on September 8 and finishes on Queensland’s Gold Coast on September 20.

Established in 1939 and headquartered in Stans, Switzerland, Pilatus is a privately owned company employing more than 1,000 people world wide, with its Australian headquarters based in Adelaide.

Pilatus will be the official Executive Aircraft Supplier of the Trial, flying the headquarters team and official scorers headed by Clerk of Course Tom Snooks between the event’s overnight stops, ahead of the event’s 100 competitors in their pre-1986 vehicles.

Founded in 1979, Peter Lehmann Wines of Tanunda will provide equally appreciated services as the Official Wines of the event. Competitors and the event’s team of more than 60 volunteer officials will enjoy ‘the best of the Barossa’ at the event’s Welcome Function in Alice Springs on Monday September 8 and at the Gala Presentation Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Royal Pines Resort on Queensland’s Gold Coast on Saturday September 20.

Both organisations are no stranger to motorsport at many levels.

Pilatus manufactures composite parts for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, has been involved with motor racing in the USA and is currently a major sponsor of the Australian Carrera Cup for identical Porsche GT3 cars that supports the V8 Supercars Championship.

Peter Lehmann Wines Managing Director Doug Lehmann is a well-known and successful gravel and tarmac rally competitor, most recently at the wheel of Mitsubishi Evo four wheel drive cars.

Since 2003, Peter Lehmann Wines has been a member of the Hess Group, comprising Peter Lehmann Wines in the Barossa Valley, The Hess Collection Winery in California’s Napa Valley, Glen Carlou wines in South Africa and Bodega Colomé in Argentina.

Neither company is a stranger to Outback Australia either.

Pilatus established its Australian base in Adelaide in 1998 and its local clients include the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and numerous Police agencies.

Pilatus Australia’s CEO Sebastian Lip said Pilatus was keen to expand its marketing focus and being the ‘Official Aircraft for the Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial’ was getting its brand in front of its key client base.

The PC-12 is the latest and largest member of the Pilatus family and its single turboprop engine is integrated into an aerodynamically advanced airframe that offers multiple configurations, ranging from Standard nine passenger commuter seating, Executive six to eight passenger seating, Cargo, Combi passenger and cargo, dedicated or quick change Air Ambulance.

The beauty of the PC-12 – much appreciated by the RFDS and Police – is its versatility. While very much at home next to any other corporate jets at an international airport, the PC-12 can comfortably take off and land in 600 metres. However if pushed, 400 metres and less than 300 metres respectively are possible, attributes that make it particularly suitable for an Outback event such as the 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial.

Peter Lehmann Wines have been the choice of many of Australia’s major motorsport events, including the Classic Adelaide Rally, which the winery has supported for many years.

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