The annual Surfers Paradise street circuit event has been officially christened 'SuperGP' following its switch from the US-based IndyCar Series to A1 Grand Prix after just one season.
Previously known as the Gold Coast Indy 300 - the race enjoyed a long relationship with the now defunct Champ Car World Series before its merger with the Indy Racing League - the street racing festival will be headlined by A1GP and the national V8 Supercar Series for the first time in October, and received its new name, logo and website in a ceremonial launch presided over by sports minister Judy Spence.
“2009 is a significant turning point in both the history of Queensland and for this fantastic event, and the new SuperGP name is a combination of both the V8 Supercars and A1GP,” Spence said, referring to the state's 150th birthday celebrations.
“The Queensland government continues to support this iconic event and we know that, not only is the SuperGP a fantastic spectacle of the world's best drivers, whether they are A1GP or V8 Supercars, but it also attracts crowds of 300,000 people each year and provides a $60 million boost to the state's economy.
“We're proud of the fact the SuperGP also generates just over 550 casual full-time job equivalents, over 173,000 visitor nights, for an economic impact for Queensland and the Gold Coast of $60 million.”
Spence confirmed that the introduction of the A1GP's 'World Cup of Motorsport' encouraged the name change, with the 22-25 October 'debut' being produced by a partnership between the Queensland government and IMG. It will be one of the opening rounds of season five of A1GP and appear towards the end of the impending V8 Supercar campaign.
“The SuperGP will provide fans with the best of both worlds with 22 countries racing for glory in the A1GP event, while V8 Supercar teams battle it out in an event which has traditionally had a huge influence on their championship outcome," Spence commented, “This year's event will offer so many things that are fresh and we look forward to a new-look off-track calendar of events being rolled out over the coming months.”
The announcement was also attended by V8 Supercars CEO Cameron Levick, Australian A1GP team boss - and 1980 F1 world champion - Alan Jones, reigning V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup and A1 Team Australia driver John Martin, while SuperGP chairman, Terry Mackenroth, admitted that the name was a fitting one for the event.
“Heading into our 19th year, the Gold Coast event is regarded as one of the premier motorsport events in the world and, with the inclusion of A1GP cars for the first time alongside our own homegrown V8 Supercars, we're exceptionally excited about presenting another world class street race,” he said, “This event will have an international flavour more than at any other time in its history and we want to take advantage of that and create an experience which will be hard to forget.”
A title sponsor for the event has yet to be revealed, with Lexmark having provided sterling support for the Indy 300 in the past, but event GM Greg Hooton reported that the new-look SuperGP had stirred up interest in both fans and the corporate sector.
“I think the event is going to offer so much more than it ever has before as we really head into a new era,” Hooton noted, “It is no secret that the world is in tough economic times, but we are having positive negotiations with corporate partners at all levels, including naming rights, and we are confident of being able to continually roll out positive news over the next few months. Our team is working around the clock to ensure this year's SuperGP will be our best event yet.”
Tickets for this year's event will officially go on sale on 23 March.