By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
A private consortium in Austrialia is reportedly in talks bring the Verizon IndyCar Series back to the streets of Surfer’s Paradise, Australia as soon as next season.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that a group as been given the green light to negotiate with INDYCAR officials as well as officials from the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in order to bring the open wheel series back to Surfer’s Paradise for the first time since 2008. The group has the goal being a week long event with the IndyCar race being the headline event combined with the Supercars Race.
“We are talking to TEQ and the US-based IndyCars,” a consortium spokesman told the Bulletin.
“All our concern at the moment is on securing the approval through government to hold the event with IndyCars as the major attraction — 2017 is a possibility, 2018 is more than possible,” the spokesman added.
The news comes just after the Virgin Australia Supercar Series renewed its contract with the city to host the Gold Coast 600 for three more years. An agreement would have to be reached with Virgin Australia Supercar Series in order to pull off the proposed week-long event.
INDYCAR issued a statement this afternoon noting that they are in talks with several venues about joining the schedule in 2017, but they would not comment on specific details.
INDYCAR is in the process of investigating potential venues for the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which includes a number of conversations with international parties interested in hosting an event. INDYCAR has an extended history at Surfers Paradise and many of its teams and drivers fondly recall the great events and large crowds in Australia. However, at this time, we are not going to comment on specifics as it pertains to the status of any prospective venue.
The now defunct CART/Champ Car series raced at Surfer’s Paradise from 1991-2007. The race was absorbed into the 2008 schedule as a non-championship round when Champ Car and IndyCar merged, with the race being won by Australian Ryan Briscoe. The race was dropped from the calendar when INDYCAR and race organizers were unable to negotiate a deal.
The race regularly drew crowds in excess of 252,000 people and brought a total of $761 million Australian dollars to the local economy.
The Supercar series has raced at Surfer’s since then on a truncated version of the IndyCar layout.