Australian A1 Grand Prix 'seat holder' Alan Jones is convinced that the series' visit to Eastern Creek Raceway in November will set it up to be Sydney's biggest sporting event.

The Australian city was confirmed as host for the antipodes' leg of the inaugural A1 GP series last week, after the New South Wales Government pledged $1million to upgrade Eastern Creek, and help ensure that the track reaches the required FIA Grade 2 specification ahead of the 4-6 November event.

"This is great news for western Sydney," New South Wales minister for tourism, sport and recreation, Sandra Nori, said, "It will drive tourism and business into the city's heartland, and could be worth up to $10million for the NSW economy."

Australia was one of the first teams to sign up to Sheikh Maktoum's vision, and team principal Jones, the 1980 Formula One world champion, is confident that the series will be a hit with the fans as well as the 25 countries taking part.

"I have absolutely no doubt this will become Sydney's biggest annual international sporting event, delivering huge economic benefit to the city and the state," he said, "Images from the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at Eastern Creek will be beamed to a potential worldwide audience of over four billion people."

Jones' comments must underline his belief in the series, as the city already plays host to a range of sporting and cultural events, including the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, which starts annually on Boxing Day, and a series of surf festivals headlined by the City to Surf race that takes competitors to the world-famous Bondi beach. Add in the New Year's Eve fireworks, Australia Day celebrations, Opera in the Domain and Mardi Gras, and A1GP has a lot to live up to if it is to grab the attention. Motorsport fans in the region will also be able to compare the single-seater series to the domestic V8 Supercar championship, which visits Eastern Creek in May.

Jones' son Christian has been among the drivers testing the team's car in recent weeks, but no decision has been made regarding the identity of the pilot for the opening round at Brands Hatch later this month, with Will Davison also among the contenders.

Fox Sports and Network Ten will broadcast the event and the series live and via delayed telecast respectively.

 

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