V8 Supercars bid to save Gold Coast event
V8 Supercars organisers are hoping a week-long festival celebration can secure the future of the Gold Coast 600 event.
October's race on the streets of Surfers Paradise could well be the last with reports the Queensland government is set to cut its $6 million funding.
The event began in 1991 as part of the CART IndyCar world series and drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region at its peak in the late-90s and early-2000s. But since the last IndyCar race on these shores in 2008, and a disastrous no-show by the now-defunct A1 GP series in 2009, the event has failed to regain those heights as a stand-alone V8 Supercars round.
With the event injecting up to $45 million into the Gold Coast economy, V8 Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard is hoping a carnival-style atmosphere can secure a new deal to keep it alive.
''We want to make this year's event the biggest party ever,'' Howard said.
''We really want to bring back the sizzle into it.
''What's been missing a little bit and what everybody is looking for is the event to be back to its heyday.
''Back to a massive party, a big festival ... we're looking to run it starting the weekend before.''
Howard said the plan was to hold free activities in the week leading up to the October 25-27 motorsport action with a street parade, concerts, go-kart races and a Miss V8 Supercar competition among the suggested options.
''Gold Coast needs an event portfolio to support the tourism and I think our event is a very important factor in that,'' he said.
Incoming V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton had to put talks with government ministers on hold following the tragic death of his father in Sydney last week. But Howard said Warburton would be back on deck at this weekend's round in Darwin and the tragedy hadn't impacted on discussions over the Gold Coast race.
''Even though he has had this tragedy he's still been working in the background,'' Howard said.
''He's the style of guy, even though he's had that situation, he's still very much been kept involved in the business.''