CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise Indy set for next five years

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie announced today that the Gold Coast's Indy 300 is likely to race ahead for another five years. Following a visit to the pits area this morning, he said that the Gold Coast had secured the race until 2008. "Sport...

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie announced today that the Gold Coast's Indy 300 is likely to race ahead for another five years.

Following a visit to the pits area this morning, he said that the Gold Coast had secured the race until 2008. "Sport Minister Terry Mackenroth has advised me that talks with the CART organization responsible for the race have resulted in an in-principle agreement to extend the Gold Coast race for another five years," said Mr Beattie.

"This event injects an estimated $50 million into Queensland's economy each year. It showcases the attractions of the Gold Coast to a potential worldwide audience of 700 million."

With record crowds of more than 300,000 people expected over the four days of racing -- double the original attendance in 1991 -- Premier Beattie said the achievement would be a testament to the excellent co-operation between the Queensland State Government, private enterprise, the local community and the motor racing organizations.

The Premier said he was certain crowds in excess of 300,000 would better last year's record 286, 610 spectators, a turnout hindered only by poor weather conditions on the Friday. "Breaking the magical 300,000 mark this year will be a great achievement," he said.

"Yesterday (Thursday) we had a record first day with 53,000 attending the track. Demand for tickets has been so high another Andretti grandstand has had to be constructed at the northern end of the circuit."

Premier Beattie also said of the race, "The Honda Indy 300 list of drivers and their countries of origin is a great advertisement for multiculturalism. This year's Champ car drivers' line-up reads like a United Nations directory -- there is Australian-born New Zealander Scott Dixon plus four Brazilians, three Mexicans, three Canadians, two Japanese, a Swede, a Spaniard and a Scotsman."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon