A1GP deal signed in record time
It was during a tour of pit lane Sunday that one of the A1GP international bosses said bringing the event to the Gold Coast was a dream come true.
A1GP's general manager of franchise and special projects, Paul Cherry, said bringing A1 cars to race the streets of Surfers Paradise was hugely satisfying for him and open-wheel racing legend and Gold Coaster Alan Jones.
"I've been here on many occasions with CART and Champ Cars and it's a fantastic situation to bring A1 here and to bring one of the iconic names of motor racing, Ferrari, to race around the streets of Surfers and race in tandem with the V8 Supercar series -- probably the best touring car series in the world," said Mr. Cherry.
"We have a world-class event moving forward."
Mr. Cherry joined Sports Minister Judy Spence, A1 Team Australia seat holder Alan Jones, chairman of the formerly named Indy 300 Terry Mackenroth and V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane in Surfers' pit lane yesterday to mark the new relationship with the A1GP which has signed a five-year deal to replace the slower IndyCars on the Coast from 2009.
Despite repeated denials of backroom discussions with the A1GP as this year's Indy approached, the series first spoke to Mr. Mackenroth in 2007 while the Surfers event was still contracted to Champ Cars.
Mr. Mackenroth saw an A1 race in Taupo, New Zealand, last January and A1GP boss Tony Teixeira travelled to Sydney only weeks ago to negotiate with race organizers and officials to cement a deal, should negotiations to retain the IndyCars in Surfers fail.
Mr. Mackenroth said the deal with A1 must rank as one of the swiftest deals ever done in motor racing.
"It must be a record in motorsport world, given that it's only two weeks since we ended our association with the IRL," he said. "To get together a franchise agreement and tie it in with the V8s must be a record."
Mr. Cherry said A1GP lawyers had 'burned the midnight oil in China' to get the agreement ready in time to secure a 2009 race on the Coast. Goldcoast.com