STEAL SPOTLIGHT AT INDY LAUNCH
The V8 Supercars will tear up the streets of Surfers Paradise for at least the next three years, it was announced today.
The announcement by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie at the launch of October's Indy 300 secures the future of the state's most important tourism attraction - with or without the headlining Champ Cars.
The future of the American-based CART organisation, which runs the international Champ Car series, is far less certain, gripped by financial hardship and dwindling support. The V8 Supercars are now positioned to take over the event should CART cancel its Australian leg before the end of its current five-year contract.
Frantic last-minute negotiations last weekend secured the deal, with V8 Supercar governing body AVESCO apparently playing hardball with Indy officials for a better deal.
The Indy round became a championship event for the first time last year, but AVESCO were unhappy with their slice of the event pie.
The new deal has an option for a further two years, the Premier said.
"I am excited about the popular V8 Supercars being a feature of the Lexmark Indy 300 for the next three years," he said.
"The crowd loves watching the V8 Supercars, and the teams and drivers love racing on the Surfers Paradise street circuit."
AVESCO Chairman Tony Cochrane told the launch, complete with a sandcastle replica of a V8 Supercar, he was delighted with the deal.
"In particular we would like to thank the Queensland Government and sports minister Terry Mackenroth for their assistance in making this a reality," he said.
"There's no doubt V8 Supercars are the number one motorsport category in Australia and the series is regarded as the finest touring car championship in the world."
V8 Supercar drivers will compete over two 100km races, split over Saturday and Sunday. Gillette is again naming-rights sponsor of the races.
The Lexmark Indy 300 is on October 23-26.
--V8 WIRE (Jason Whittaker)
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