I have read with interest the many comments - and considerable garbage - written concerning the proposed date problem associated with the Gold Coast Indy event for 2009 and beyond. Much of this angst is aimed at the Queensland government and the GCMEC board. In my opinion, unfairly.
Both the government and the GCMEC have bent over backwards in trying to accommodate the new IRL's interests in working out a suitable date for 2008-2009. Following are some facts regarding the matter which may help correct the record:
* The government and the GCMEC have supported Indy/Champ Cars now for many years, including some very ordinary periods in their somewhat chequered history. In any business relationship you would hope that this counts for something?
* Despite the event being held in late October for nearly ten years, suddenly the IRL, incredulously, offer two dates well outside this traditional period?
* The event gets its TV production and telecast partner (the 7 Network
) from V8 Supercars Australia (our championship goes to 110 countries, many of them
live). Like all sporting events, the telecast partner is paramount to the financial success of the event, so their scheduling is critical.
* The IRL offer two dates - one in March which clashes with a major Australian motorsport event which involves both V8 Supercars and the 7 Network
, and another which not only clashes with the AFL and NRL final series, but would be in the middle of the September school holidays!
* Are Gold Coast tourism operators suggesting that moving Indy to a time when they are already fully booked due to the school holidays is a smart move to preserve the IRL? Additionally, we would have no telecast partner for the event.
* Late October was originally picked because it coincides with a natural downturn and quiet period for Gold Coast tourism. (ie the $60m injection comes in handy).
* V8 Supercars recognises the event requires both V8s and an international series to make this unique event work. If the IRL cannot see fit to honour a long-standing agreement on the date, then there are many other world class international series of motorsports that would readily fit the bill.
Our championship employs nearly 800 people in SE Queensland so this 'home event' for us is an important part of our landscape and, for our part, we will work with the government and GCMEC in any reasonable way. At the end of the day, I hope common sense prevails and the event continues as a joint round of V8 Supercars and the IRL. However, I don't subscribe to the event being held ransom to a date that will bankrupt GCMEC, and neither should the Gold Coast community, especially when we have viable alternatives! Our American friends owe both the community and the event more than that, given the support the event has given them.
V8 Supercars Australia