IndyCar wants Surfers Paradise but in February, says Miles
The Verizon IndyCar Series will not share the Surfers Paradise venue with V8 Supercars if that series’ Gold Coast 600 remains on its traditional October date, according to Mark Miles.
The CEO of Hulman & Company, IndyCar’s parent company, has confirmed to Motorsport.com that the series is “not interested” in racing at Surfers Paradise in the fall, as predicted last month.
“We have a desire to find a couple of international races in February,” said Miles, “and it’s certainly been confirmed in Australia that the folks down there are looking to see if it’s feasible for Queensland to host one of them.
“We would certainly be interested – it was a fantastic event for Indy car racing,” he went on. “But if we do have a race there it will be in February. The weather is stunning at that time of the year in Queensland, too.”
CART/Champ Car’s Gold Coast 300 was held in spring from its inception in 1991 through ’98, when it switched to October. The last Indy car race was a non-championship event, held in 2008. The event was famous for having only one repeat winner in its 18 editions (Sebastien Bourdais in ’05 and ’07).
Gateway on the brink
Miles said that IndyCar is “doing due diligence” on three “finalists” to plug the one-race hole in the summer schedule, adding that, “We’re trying to finalize all the tracks for 2017 and ’18 by the end of this August.
It is believed the 1.25-mile oval at Gateway Motorsport Park, in Madison, Ill., is favorite, since it has been used as a test venue and would likely have been included in this year’s schedule, had NBCSN not been focused on the Rio Olympics in August.
Miles also stated that he intended for Watkins Glen to remain on the schedule beyond this year.
“Absolutely, that would be good and it will be good to give them a better run at promoting the event,” he commented, referring to the fact that the Glen race this year was an eleventh-hour replacement for the stillborn Boston street event. “Promoters and fans react better when they know that we’re building up an event longterm, and that is our hope.”
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