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Gold Coast talks continue.

Talks are due to be held this weekend between event organisers and the Indy Racing League to discuss the future participation of the IndyCar Series on Australia's Gold Coast.

The series is racing at Surfers Paradise this weekend for the first time since the merger of the Champ Car and IndyCar series' at the start of the year, although the Nikon Indy 300 is running as a non-championship event being used by a number of team's to begin their plans for 2009.

Currently, the Gold Coast event doesn't feature on the 2009 calendar with the main issue being currently being agreeing on a date for the race.

The IndyCar Series had hoped to run the event in September, having already moved the Indy Japan 300 to later in the year in the hope of twinning it with the Surfers Paradise event.

However, if the race were to move away from its traditional date, it would lead to a clash with the national rugby championship and as a result, organisers are keen for the event to remain in a time-slot it had held for more than a decade.

"We have every intention of hopefully working something out," Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, said. "We have heard nothing of great things. A number of our drivers, teams and league personnel have participated in this event, so it's certainly not an unknown to most of us. It also comes with tremendous high marks, not only from the government support but through the organization, management and success of the event.

"As we said when we unified open-wheel racing this year it brought both opportunities and challenges. You can image when you're trying to blend two racing series and make one better series it really does bring challenges, and this has been one. We think it's one that can be one that we can overcome, embrace and make work. I think both sides enter in with a great spirit of co-operation to get this worked out.

"I think from the enthusiasm from the drivers already it's a different show than what has been here the past few years. It's more cars, more stars, and we think everyone will really enjoy the weekend."

Event chairman Terry Mackeroth said he was confident that the Gold Coast Indy will feature in 2009, with talks having already started into the possibility of a five year deal.

"It's been a great event for the Gold Coast for 18 years and I'm sure it will continue to be," he said. "It's one of the biggest motor racing festivals in the world.

"We agreed with the IRL a number of months ago to put on hold our negotiations going forward until this weekend. We wanted to let them bed down their new series, to come here and continue our negotiations."

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