Government controls V8 future
V8 SUPERCARS executive chairman Tony Cochrane says the future of the Surfers Paradise street race rests with the Queensland Government.
Last week's withdrawal by the European based A1 GP series has reportedly cost the state up to $11 million and made the future of the event uncertain.
The possibility of another international series being brought to south-east Queensland appears limited following the end of the partnership with the American IndyCar series last year.
It means this year's race will become a stand-alone feature for the V8 Supercar series, with four 150km races over Saturday and Sunday.
But Cochrane said if the Queensland Government pulled its support from the event after this weekend there would be no chance of V8 Supercars organising their own Gold Coast leg.
“You can't run a street race anywhere in the world - Monaco does not run without government support 58 years on - so we'd have no hope, we're not that silly,” Cochrane said yesterday.
“You need the government support, you need the government infrastructure to do a street race.
“You would have no hope as a private individual.”
The ideal situation, according to Cochrane, would be a scenario where V8 Supercars organise and run the event with government backing as they did at this year's inaugural Townsville 400 event.
“We're passionate about this event, it's our hometown event. A lot of the drivers live here on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“In all honesty, of course we'd love to have a lot more involvement in this event, no question.
“I think if we got the opportunity, we would deliver on what we promise. It would turn into a very, very successful and very stable event going forward for many years to come.
“This event has got 19 years of history ... and it's been through some tough times and it's been through some great times.
“I believe this event has got a great future on the Gold Coast.”
Cochrane also said the A1 GP shambles hadn't been too much of a surprise to him or his organisation.
“I'm well on the public record of saying for a long time I thought A1 Grand Prix was in huge trouble,” he said.
“You get an enormous amount of feedback about A1 Grand Prix over the last year and none of it was good.
“With all that smoke only an idiot would come to the conclusion to say ignore all of that, it's going great guns.”
Veteran Holden star Russell Ingall said losing the street race at Surfers from the V8 Supercar calendar would be a sad result for the sport.
“I'd be very sorry to see this event go,” Ingall said.
The 2009 Super GP begins today with the V8 Supercars holding practice and qualifying sessions before the first of this weekend's four 150km races starts tomorrow morning.