A1GP has signed a five year contract to run at the fall Surfers Paradise Gold Coast street race in Australia. The four-year old international open wheel series is taking the place of the American-based open wheel series – CART, Champ Car World Series and this year – Indy Car, which have been running the popular event since 1991.
The date for the 2009 schedule and future races had been a sticking point in contract negotiations between the Gold Coast Indy promoter and Indy Racing League. IndyCar had wanted an earlier date in September or one in the spring.
The Queensland government partially subsidizes the event and wanted a worldly open wheel series on the schedule, along with the wildly popular Australian V8 Supercars – tintops. Changing the date was not an option as two of Australia’s biggest sporting events – Rugby and Football League – have playoffs in September.
When it became known that there was concern that IRL might not be back, there was an immediate queue from other global series wanting to be involved.
The name of the race for now could be Gold Coast 300. Nikon was the naming rights sponsor for 2008, but the contract going forward hasn’t been finalized.
Details to follow.