Deal seals Indy's future
If you thought this past year's Surfer's Paradise Indy race was a beauty -- brace yourself; it is going to get bigger and better. In an agreement that has the motorsport world abuzz, the two rival North American open-wheel racing bodies are poised to sign a historic merger deal. It will mean more teams at the iconic Gold Coast event, fiercer competition and a brighter future for the race.
The secret deal between the warring bosses from Champ Car and the Indy Racing League (IRL) is being hailed as the savior of the Gold Coast race.
Had an agreement not been reached over the weekend, the Bligh Government would have been faced with the prospect of having a world-class motorsport event in October without the international teams and drivers. The deal will cement the Gold Coast race as the No. 1 motorsport event in the country, particularly on the back of speculation that Melbourne's Formula One is all but dead.
Prominent Australian Indy team owner Craig Gore said last night that the unification of both series was clearly the best option for everyone in motorsport. Billionaire team owners Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven of Champ Car have been in talks for two weeks with Indy Racing League founder Tony George and high-profile team owner Roger Penske to end their divisive and bitter war.
By amalgamating Champ Car and the IRL, America's most famous motorsport race, the Indianapolis 500, would also be part of the super series. Champ Car would retain its key races -- Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfers Paradise -- and the best races in the IRL would be added to create a much stronger, more viable series.
There would be 24 drivers linked to the most powerful teams in the sport, instead of the weak field of 16 last year at Surfers Paradise.
In the past week, the major hurdle that needed to be cleared was getting officials at Twin-Ring Motegi in Japan to move its race date from April to later in the season so that the Long Beach could be added to the IndyCar schedule.
Mr. George was due to meet with Honda race officials today to get the date changed, because that facility is owned by Honda, which is the sole engine supplier of IndyCar. Honda is a former long-time naming rights sponsor of the Gold Coast event. More at Goldcoast.com