V8s CEO confident about Gold Coast future
V8 Supercars chief executive David Malone is hopeful the motorsport championship will continue to race on the Gold Coast past 2013.
The current deal with the Queensland Government for the former Indy street race event expires at the end of next year and negotiations are under way to secure a new deal.
But with Premier Campbell Newman under fire for his job cuts in the state's public service sector as well as increased strains on the state's budget, many are querying if the reported $6.5 million in public funds could be better spent elsewhere.
Malone says preliminary discussions have been positive and says all three Queensland races on the V8 calendar - Gold Coast, Townsville and Ipswich - will be retained.
"We've obviously started our conversations about the future," Malone told reporters on Sunday.
"It's early days but it's been very constructive, very positive.
"We're feeling optimistic about the future of all our events in Queensland.
"The government support is very important for this event. Mounting these street circuits, they're not inexpensive so, yeah, we certainly need the government support to keep the event going."
V8 Supercars took control of the Gold Coast event in 2009 after American motorsport series IndyCar stopped racing in Australia and the A1GP championship signed to replace it went defunct.
To keep the event's international flavor the V8s have held a co-driver event in the past three years featuring a collection of overseas-based drivers partnered with the local regulars.
This year's weekend crowd was 182,255, marginally up on last year's attendance but well below the figures attained during Indy's height of popularity in 2005 when over 300,000 patrons descended on the Surfers Paradise circuit for the weekend.
Malone said the international element would be reviewed during the negotiations with the government.
"It's been a masterstroke for the local council and Queensland government," Malone said.
"It's created a world-class event with an Australian product in V8 Supercars."
Queensland's minister for major events Jann Stuckey, who also represents the Gold Coast electorate of Currumbin, said the Gold Coast V8s would be given every opportunity to secure a new deal with the government.
"The government has a very strong appetite for successful events and that isn't going to change," Stuckey told reporters.
"It's a fantastic event ... this event will get it's fair hearing as we reconsider and renegotiate as is the normal practice for every event."