After IRL snub, Indycars not welcomed back to Surfers
After the IRL snubbed Surfers by not working the race date into their IndyCar schedule, they are not welcomed back.....ever. What CART built up over 20 years, the IRL destroyed in just one. An international race series will not return to the Gold Coast after Premier Anna Bligh yesterday ruled out spending more than $6.5 million on the event. The move has been backed by V8 Supercar boss Tony Cochrane who declared he would not ask for more funding.
The revelations came as Ms Bligh toured the Surfers Paradise precinct on the opening day of the GC600. Ms Bligh said the V8 Supercars' three-year building project would have to meet the government's high expectations to keep the funding it had.
It is a far cry from the $12.5 million which used to be invested for the Indy Carnival. When asked whether she would consider topping up the event during the three-year rebuilding phase Ms Bligh was clear.
"There's no request for that to increase, the three-year arrangement is very clear about what is expected," she said. "We have set the V8 Supercar series a very high hurdle.
``We want this event to be a success, we are going to continue to invest in it because it is great for the Gold Coast economy, but it is going to have to meet our expectations. So far it is looking good."
V8 Supercar chairman Tony Cochrane said Indy would not return to the Gold Coast in the next 100 years and endorsed the government's decision not to fill the coffers with more funds.
"I told the Premier we will save them at least six million, they used to spend $12.5 million," he said.
``We've cut that in half and I've given a commitment that we will wear the brunt of that.
"I'm a man of my word."
Mr. Cochrane said V8 Supercars would need more than 165,000 people to walk through the gates to break even this weekend.
He said there would be no other V8 Supercar event in the year that would be internationalized.
Ms Bligh said luring individual international drivers was strong enough to carry the event.
"The international component obviously gives it a little more sizzle for an international audience, she said.
"This week we will see the event reborn in a totally new format.
"The weather will bring people out and I am very confident that this will be an event that grows and gets bigger every year."
She said the $6.5 million was a good investment in the Gold Coast economy.
"The return to taxpayers is jobs for the Gold Coast and international advertising," she said.
Ms Bligh spent yesterday at the track, but will send Deputy Premier Paul Lucas and Treasurer Andrew Fraser to the event for the weekend. goldcoast.com.au