Champ Car racing will continue at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Queensland's Gold Coast in 2004, following the court ruling that Open Wheel Racing Series should be allowed to acquire the assets and liabilities of CART - the previous governing body of the Champ Car World Series.

Judge Frank Otte's ruling came after a long day of bidding by both OWRS and the rival Indy Racing League, and the result means it will be 'business as usual' for the Lexmark Indy 300, as OWRS intends to maintain and grow the current series, while maintaining the Australian race as one of the 'jewels in its crown' alongside Long Beach.

Indy 300 general manager James Ashworth said that the judge's decision was great news for Queensland's premier event, which is now heading into its 14th year.

"This decision puts an end to speculation on the future of Champ Car racing at the Lexmark Indy 300," said Ashworth, who was in Indianapolis for the decision, "It is all go for 2004 and beyond.

"We have been going about our business as usual, and the Open Wheel Racing Series acquisition confirms that the Champ Cars will continue to be a feature on the Gold Coast, sharing equal billing with the V8 Supercars.

"Open Wheel Racing Series has been keeping us well informed on its intentions for the series and were always extremely confident of acquiring the remaining assets of CART. Its vision for the Lexmark Indy 300 is for it to be the 'jewel in the crown' of its new 16-race series.

"This begins a new chapter for our event, which has faced some adversity in the past. It has now developed into one of the world's great events with a tireless commitment from a dedicated staff of people and more than 1500 volunteers every year. It is also great news for our sponsors, staff, contractors, fans and the state of Queensland which enjoys an economic benefit through this event in excess of $50 million each year."

The new owner of the Champ Car World Series issued a personal thank you to the Queensland government and Lexmark Indy 300 following the decision in US.

OWRS partner Kevin Kalkhoven, originally from South Australia, said the result would not have been possible without the unbridled support of their valued race promoters and team owners.

"We have to thank James Ashworth and his team for their commitment and for making the effort to come over here with legal representation," Kalkhoven said, after Ashworth had taken to the stand to address the court about possible implications should the IRL be granted the assets.

"I think that showed a lot of people how important our series can become to a community or state when it is done with the professionalism that is displayed in Australia. We consider the Lexmark Indy 300 as the crown jewel in the series and we cannot wait to get back down there for what will be one hell of a show in October.

"Every supportive letter and e-mail we received strengthened our desire to resolve this matter properly. We are all acutely aware of the responsibility we now bear for the Champ Car community and we, along with everyone else in the series, will strive to exceed our expectations every day."

The Lexmark Indy 300 will be held on the streets of Queensland's Gold Coast from 21-24 October.



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