Surfers becomes a V8 Supercar only event
THE V8 Supercars have been given two years to turn themselves and the Gold Coast's motor racing festival into an international attraction that will rebuild the annual event's damaged reputation.
The three-day 'Supercarnivale' to be held for the first time this October will feature the V8 Supercars in a 600km competition over two days, international music acts each night and a radical new endurance race using world renowned drivers.
The Bligh Government, under pressure from two damning reports into last year's failed GP to be released today, has decided to stop chasing risky minor international racing series and will instead put its faith in the rapidly expanding home-grown race to rebrand and rebirth the 19-year-old event.
The Gold Coast-based V8 Supercars organization, widely considered the best events team in Australia, has already begun work on a campaign to take their sport to a worldwide audience with three races to be held overseas this year.
A huge international music star, to be revealed next week, has also been recruited to become the sport's ambassador for the next three years.
The V8-only race will see the track size slashed by almost half with troublesome areas near Surfers Paradise excised.
The shorter track will also take less time to set up and take down, and reducing the carnival from a four day to three day event will appease residents inconvenienced each year.
Ticket prices will also be slashed by at least 25 per cent from the previous price of $145.
V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane was ambushed by councilors yesterday after presenting his grand vision for the new SuperCarnivale race weekend.
After months of verbal stoushes between Mr. Cochrane and Surfers Paradise councilor Susie Douglas over the event, the pair finally met face to face.
Sitting alongside racetrack engineer John Howe and V8 Supercars general manager Shane Howard, Mr. Cochrane answered a flurry of questions from Cr Douglas and Nerang councilor Peter Young.
Cr Young accused Mr. Cochrane of not being 'honorable' after accusing the V8 Supercars of 'freezing out' Gold Coast City Council from negotiations.
Mr. Cochrane last week pulled off a major coup after the State Government agreed to a V8-only race to replace the open-wheelers for the new motorsport festival for the Coast, dubbed the SuperCarnivale.
"I am offended you did not come and see us before today," said Cr Young.
"This is not a good way to start a relationship. It is a bad start.
"I thought you would have taken a more honorable approach towards council."
Mr. Cochrane refused to accept responsibility for a confidential process that was directed by the State Government behind closed doors.
"I am usually more than prepared to cop an arrow to the back of my head but in this case I think it is unfair," said Mr. Cochrane.
"We were kept out of the loop by the State Government and did not know what was going on until last week."
The V8 Supercars will employ a full-time community liaison officer for a community committee.
Mr. Cochrane told councilors he would do everything possible to involve Main Beach traders and other concerned stakeholders.
"I am very aware of some of the problems that occurred last year," he said.
"It was embarrassing ... and that is why we are looking to get more involved with the community this year."
The council pumps $100,000 into the event. The Supercarnivale event replaces the SuperGP event which in turn had replaced the Gold Coast Indy.