A1GP axed

UPDATE This rumor is now 'fact.' THE besieged A1GP car racing series today admitted it will not be coming to Australia next week to join the SuperGP on the Gold Coast.

Sports Minister Phil Reeves today announced the A1GP was officially out of the event due to start next Thursday on the Surfers Paradise street track.

It was the worst kept secret in world motorsport for weeks and it seems only the organizers of the SuperGP believed the increasingly unstable A1GP would actually show up.

The Gold Coast Bulletin exposed holes in the A1GP plan on a daily basis this week until Mr. Reeves stepped in on Friday to announce a back-up plan, which today he executed.

He spent Friday working with V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane to come up with an alternative event schedule should A1GP chief Tony Teixeira fail to meet demands to prove he had freighters booked to bring his cars to Australia.

Not only did Mr. Teixeira fail to show those documents, he admitted in writing they would not be racing in Australia.

Under the new plan, the Gold Coast's premier motorsport event will become the biggest endurance race held by V8 Supercars after Bathurst.

They will switch their race schedule from a 200km race on Saturday and Sunday, to instead hold four races in two days — two 150km races on both days.

"We've never done 600km of racing in two days and never done four races in a weekend before, so this will be a first," said Mr. Cochrane told the Gold Coast Bulletin and goldcoast.com.au exclusively on Friday.

"What we've done is worked with the Queensland Government to have a real genuine plan B in place."

Mr. Cochrane alerted all the V8 Supercar teams that they would need to be prepared to race 600km instead of the 400km previously planned.

It would require them to completely change their car set-up — some of the Victorian teams would most likely do that once they arrived on the Gold Coast.

Mr. Cochrane said taking off 50km from each of the races would not compromise the strategic racing expected because refueling and pit-stops would still come into play.

Each race would be for championship points and a 20-minute qualifying shoot out on Sunday for the day's two races would also be added to the schedule.

Today's announcement is a major embarrassment for SuperGP Greg Hooton and chairman Terry Mackenroth who oversaw the deal with failed sponsor Nitro and now failed open-wheelers A1GP.

And government minister Judy Spence is not out of the woods either.

The former Sport Minister was holding the reins when she announced she had secured the Indy Racing League for a future contract when she clearly hadn't. Then she, with Mr. Mackenroth, secured the fatally flawed deal with A1GP.

The debacle has caused widespread unrest about next week's Gold Coast race and impacted ticket sales, corporate bookings and the reputation of the event.

10/16/09 Gold Coast Super GP has reportedly lost its showcase event, with red-faced organisers set to confirm on Saturday the A1GP race will be scrapped.The couriermail.com.au reported the A1GP cars remain locked up in London, forcing Gold Coast organisers to abandon the category and turn the event into a V8 Supercars-only show. Instead of the planned two 200km races, the V8 series will instead stage four 150km races – two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Acting Premier Andrew Fraser said on Friday the State Government would take legal action against the A1GP organisers for "tarnishing the event". The $11 million taxpayer contribution towards staging the October 22-25 event would still be spent, Mr Fraser said. The much maligned A1GP series hit a fresh snag when reports emerged on Thursday that their international teams had been delayed in London due to urgent safety modifications required on the cars.

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