Increasing speculation over IndyCar return to Surfers Paradise

The Gold Coast Bulletin has not only revealed plans by a consortium to negotiate for IndyCar’s return to Australia, it has triggered IndyCar into releasing a statement regarding its international plans.

Increasing speculation over IndyCar return to Surfers Paradise
Paul Tracy surfs at Surfers Paradise
Atmosphere at Surfers Paradise
Air Force display over Surfers Paradise
Aerial view of Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise fans cheer for Will Power
There was plenty of support for the teams
Jimmy Vasser

Following confirmation that Supercars (formerly V8 Supercars) would be continuing at the Surfers Paradise venue at least until 2019, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported that it had “seen documents giving a Coast-based consortium the right to negotiate for an IndyCar race in Australia.”

The Gold Coast 600 Supercars event traditionally partnered with CART / Champ Car for the American series’ race Down Under.

A spokesman for the consortium confirmed to the GCB a potential renewal of this link-up, stating “There are ongoing commercial negotiations with the government. We are talking to TEQ [Tourism and Events Queensland] and the US-based IndyCars.”

This prompted a press release from IndyCar, which was worded vaguely enough that it has intensified rather than dampened down the speculation. 

The statement reads: “IndyCar is in the process of investigating potential venues for the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which includes a number of conversations with international parties interested in hosting an event.

“IndyCar has an extended history at Surfers Paradise and many of its teams and drivers fondly recall the great events and large crowds in Australia. However, at this time, we are not going to comment on specifics as it pertains to the status of any prospective venue.”

One potential snag is that the Gold Coast 600 is an October event, which under IndyCar’s current regime, is not in the championship plan. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, IndyCar’s parent brand, has sought to shift the season to having a February to September schedule to avoid clashing with NFL.

He reiterated to Motorsport.com last month: “Our strategy is to add two international points races in February, start racing in North America in St. Pete, remain in North America, and crown our champion in the United States.”

That would mean a Surfers Paradise race, held in late October, would likely be a non-championship event, as was the intention for the rumored Chinese race which died in June. Although this is not necessarily a sticking point, some team owners have told Motorsport.com they would not be interested in flyaway events that were just exhibition races.

Ironically, the last IndyCar race held there, in 2008, was a non-championship race. Following the Champ Car / Indy Racing League merger, the race was held to fulfill Champ Car’s contract with the event organizers, but the IRL’s contract with Chicagoland included a stipulation that it was the 2008 season finale.

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