V8s lining up for more Surfers' cash V8 Supercars want a greater slice of the Indy financial pie as behind-the-scenes drama dominates talk on the eve of the major Surfers Paradise motorsport event.
V8s boss Tony Cochrane is in talks with the State Government to finalize next year's contract, and The Bulletin understands he is seeking a greater slice of the $12 million the Government pours into the event each year.
There has also been speculation over the International Management Group's continuing role with Indy, after The Bulletin was told the group and State Government were at loggerheads over a number of issues, including IMG's profit take from the event.
Late yesterday, Lexmark Indy 300 chairman Terry Mackenroth released a statement saying that letters of intent had been drafted between IMG and the Queensland Government for a joint partnership through to 2013.
"A deal has been done," he said. "I cannot understand where all the current rumor and speculation has been circulated from and take offence to such accusations of instability in regards to Australia's No 1 motorsport spectacular.
"Our current agreement will take us through to the 2008 event and we expect to cement a formal arrangement between the Queensland Government and our event partners IMG to take us through another five-year contractual period up to and inclusive of the 2013 event."
It is understood the Champ Car sanction fee and transport costs for Surfers Paradise are close to $6 million, while the V8s get a third of that in fees and TV rights.
The high-stakes game is being played out between the Indy board and V8 board, of which Mr. Cochrane is chairman.
Mr. Cochrane recently stitched up a lucrative deal with the Queensland Government to run a V8 race in Townsville.
He is arguing that the V8s should be given equal financial billing with the Champ Cars, saying he had independent research showing more people came to Surfers Paradise for the V8s than the Champ Cars.
The argy bargy over next year's Queensland Government deal with the V8s coincides with a massive planned revamp of the Indy series.
Mr. Kalkhoven, the Aussie billionaire running the Champ Car series, has always declared Surfers Paradise the series' marque event.
Team Australia owner Craig Gore said the attractiveness of Indy was its international flavor, combined with the best V8 drivers in the country.
"I think that's a potent mix and to tamper with that would be crazy," he said. Goldcoast.com