V8 Supercars will step in if Gold Coast Indy collapses
V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane said the championship would willingly step in if asked to salvage the Gold Coast's big annual motorsport weekend.
But Cochrane said he interpreted the omission yesterday of the Gold Coast from a provisional 2009 calendar of the Indy Racing League as nothing more than "argy bargy" between the IRL and the Queensland organizers of the Gold Coast Indy 300.
Gold Coast Indy 300 general manager Greg Hooten said talks with the IRL about including a Surfers Paradise event in the 2009 calendar were ongoing and would certainly continue at this year's event from October 23-26.
"We knew the calendar was going to be released and I was aware that we were not going to be on it for 2009," Hooten said.
"The intention has always been that we will start negotiations about 2009 dates when the IRL come out here in October."
Considered one of the blockbuster events of the series since Surfers Paradise first held a race in 1991, the IRL Wednesday released a draft of its calendar that will conclude at the Homestead oval circuit in Florida on October 11.
The Queensland Government has always said that it would not give up its October date because it fitted in well with a lull in Gold Coast tourism.
Another catch is the V8 Supercars, which runs a round of their Championship series on the Gold Coast's Indy weekend, likes late-October dates which follow their Bathurst 1000 showcase.
"Everyone wants the race to be in October and my firm belief is they (IRL) will be there in late October in 2009," Cochrane said.
"We would never let the Queensland Government down. We'd step in and help any way we could."
Cochrane said the V8 Supercars would this year start a six-year deal to provide a race at the Gold Coast with the Queensland Government and the Gold Coast Motor Event Corporation.
"The problem (with September dates at the Gold Coast) would be you would have football finals then and television commitments in AFL and NRL," Cochrane said.
The IRL has announced an 18-race schedule which remains provisional and is subject to change, leaving the door open for the Gold Coast to be drafted on to the 2009 program.
US press reports say the Miami venue has stipulated in its contract that it must be the final race of the 2009 IRL calendar.
American open-wheel racing became unified for the first time since 1995 earlier this year when Champ Car went belly-up with many of its remaining teams being accepted into the IRL.
The Queensland Government has signed a contract for an international open-wheel race to continue on the Gold Coast until 2013.