A1GP organisers have admitted to great excitement after landing a five-year contract to replace the IndyCar Series as the primary open-wheel element of the annual motorsport jamboree on Australia's Gold Coast.
After it emerged that the Americans would not find common ground with their Australian counterparts over dates, the World Cup of Motorsport put forward its case to join the V8 Supercar Series at the top of the bill in Surfers Paradise, and was selected over other possible contenders when it was emphasised that an international single-seater category would be the preferred option. The Gold Coast event, which will be able to keep its traditional October date, will be added to season five of A1GP.
“We wanted to go back to Australia and this is the ideal venue for our series," commented series chairman Tony Teixeira, "A lot of people have worked hard on putting this deal together and, now it has come to fruition, it is very exciting.
"I am aware that we are being given a perfect opportunity to showcase our series to the Australian fans, who have been great supporters of both the series and their own team. Australia has a rich motorsport heritage and I know our TV fans worldwide will be delighted to have this spectacular race on our calendar.
“Both the Government and IMG have offered us every courtesy in putting this together, and I reckon we must have set a record in doing such an important deal in such a short space of time."
The first race on the Queensland street track, which hosted 18 Champ Car and IndyCar races between 1991-2008, will take place on the weekend of 22-25 October, satisfying event organisers that had been offered alternative slots in March and September by the IndyCar organisation.
“I'm excited to announce that A1GP will now be racing on the streets of Surfers Paradise and that we're able to bring the World Cup of Motorsport to the Gold Coast and Australia,” Greg Hooton, general manager of the renamed Gold Coast 300, added, “We view the new partnership with A1GP as a great opportunity to continue to further develop the event and a wonderful attribute for the Gold Coast.
"It is critical for us to continue to produce a world class motorsport event and being able to combine the uniqueness of A1GP within Australia's most popular motor racing festival gives us a great platform for future growth.”
Queensland sports minister Judy Spence admitted that was disappointing that hurdles in relation to the timing and funding of the IndyCar event could not be overcome.