CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise race future secured

The Lexmark Indy 300's future was secured with the signing of a contract in California yesterday enabling the event to be held for another five years, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Sport, Mr Terry Mackenroth said. Mr Mackenroth signed the...

The Lexmark Indy 300's future was secured with the signing of a contract in California yesterday enabling the event to be held for another five years, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Sport, Mr Terry Mackenroth said.

Mr Mackenroth signed the 'Official Promoter's Agreement' with Champ Car President and CEO Mr Chris Pook, Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman Mr John Cowley and General Manager James Ashworth at Long Beach in California.

They were joined by Lexmark General Manager Mr Stephen Waugh and Indy State Government representative Mr Ian Whitehead in Long Beach -- site for round three of the 'Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford'.

Mr Mackenroth said the current contract would effectively expire after the running of this year's race.

"At last year's Indy we reached an in-principle agreement with Mr Pook for the next five years after 2003," Mr Mackenroth said.

"After further negotiation we have now been able to formalise that agreement and I am pleased to announce that the running of the Lexmark Indy 300 until 2008 is assured.

"It is great news for the Gold Coast and great news for Queensland because this event is one of the most popular and entertaining racing carnivals in the world."

Mr Mackenroth said the Gold Coast would continue to thrive from the many benefits Indy delivered every year.

He said it had been a prosperous few months for the event with global technology leader, Lexmark, coming on board earlier this year as the new naming rights sponsor.

"Lexmark's signature came quickly after the expiration of the previous sponsor's contract, which reaffirms Indy's marketplace value," Mr Mackenroth said.

"Having the support of such a successful company will provide a tremendous platform for Indy to continue its remarkable growth on the Gold Coast."

Champ Car President and CEO Mr Pook said the Gold Coast event was an international example of how a Champ Car race should be organised and promoted.

"We are very pleased to be able to continue our relationship. The event is extremely popular with our drivers, teams' sponsors and most importantly the public," said Mr Pook.

"The event is a very important part of our ongoing strategy to deliver key markets to our constituents and this agreement reflects the value that our series can deliver into a vital market such as the state of Queensland.

Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman John Cowley said the agreement will ensure the future of Queensland's premier annual event as well as the growth of the Gold Coast as an international tourist destination.

"This is a tremendous event for Queensland and Australia. It delivers an estimated $50 million into the Queensland economy each year and showcases the Gold Coast to the world," said Mr Cowley.

"This year we are aiming for a record 300,000 spectators over the four days from October 23 to 26, to continue our position as one of the flagship events on the Champ Car World Series calendar.

"This agreement is great news for everyone involved in the Event especially to the Queensland public who have really taken ownership of it to make it the current day success it is."

This year's Lexmark Indy 300 from October 23 to 26 will be headlined by the 'Double Header' -- the 17th round of the 'Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford' and the 11th round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

Tickets for the Lexmark Indy 300 are now on sale through Ticketek on phone 1300 303 103. Prices start at just $28.00 (incl. GST) for a Thursday General Admission ticket, while a four-day flexi ticket will cost $142.00 (incl. GST).

-li-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Chris Pook