V8 contingent says Surfers will thrive without IndyCar
The open wheeled IndyCars are only a support act to the locally grown V8 Supercars at the Gold Coast Nikon Indy - or at least that's what the V8 drivers want us to believe.
With the future of Indy car racing on the Gold Coast still in serious doubt, the top five drivers in this year's V8 championship said the event would not only survive but would flourish with them as the headline act.
``Champ Car guys in the past were a great support race for us and the IndyCar guys will be a great support race for us this weekend,'' said defending V8 champion Garth Tander, half-seriously.
``If they don't decide to come back next year, we will have a great event here on the Gold Coast at the end of the year.
``I think you only have to look at the merchandise walking around the Indy precinct - that tells you who the fans are here to see.''
Event organizers will meet with Indy Racing League administrators over the weekend, with the aim of extending the relationship for a further five years.
While the rhetoric out of both camps is positive at this stage that a new deal will be struck, the facts point in the direction of a much bumpier road.
The Gold Coast event is not on the IRL calendar for next season and if it is to continue it must almost certainly be shifted from its traditional October time-slot, something event organizers are reluctant to do.
``I think the proof is in Adelaide,'' said V8 superstar Craig Lowndes, who sits fourth in the ratings.
``When Formula One disappeared, we were lucky enough to take it over.
``It has shown the strength of V8 Supercars and our following here in Australia is huge.''
Series leader Jamie Whincup agreed.
``I am sure we, as a category, could hold our own here on the Gold Coast,'' he said.
Second-placed Ford gun Mark Winterbottom doubted the event would lose much in the absence of the Indy cars.
``They still sell XXXX and the still have balconies, so this event can still run,'' he said.
Fifth-placed Gold Coast-based driver Will Davison said V8 Supercars attracted more attention than the Indy cars.
``I think the core fan base here all around the track is for the V8s,'' he said.
``I think a bit of the Hollywood glitz and glamour is for the Indy cars and the corporates but that is about it.'' Goldcoast.com