SUCCESSFUL HISTORY REPEATS AT LEXMARK INDY 300 A bumper 101,000-strong crowd capped off another memorable Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast which concluded today with more history repeating. The 16th different Champ Car driver in the event's...
SUCCESSFUL HISTORY REPEATS AT LEXMARK INDY 300
A bumper 101,000-strong crowd capped off another memorable Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast which concluded today with more history repeating.
The 16th different Champ Car driver in the event's 16 year history was crowned victor of the Gold Coast street race, while the fifth different V8 Supercar driver took out the fifth Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge.
Images of the Gold Coast were telecast to the world through national and international broadcasters while the four days of action-packed entertainment were attended by a total of 312,054.
This mark has placed the Lexmark Indy 300 as the premier Australian motor sport event for 2006 -- a mark that organisers plan to maintain for 2007.
It was a huge day for France as 20-year-old Frenchman Nelson Philippe won the Lexmark Indy 300 in a close battle with former winner Mario Dominguez from Mexico. Another Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais wrapped up his third Champ Car World Series crown with his eighth placing giving him in unsurpassable lead in the championship.
Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly may have only won one of the three 100km Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge races over the weekend but he did enough to win the victor's surfboard trophy from Ford rival Mark Winterbottom and his brother Rick Kelly.
In the support categories, Alex Davison won the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, Damien White took out the Haymans Electrical V8 Utes, and Kyle Clews was victorious in the CARSguide Aussie Racing Cars.
"This year's event was first class and I'm confident that it will continue to grow even bigger and more successful in 2007, but hopefully with a happy ending for Australian Champ Car fans," said Queensland Minister for Sport and 'Minister for Indy' Andrew Fraser.
The happy ending that the Minister was alluding to was a victory to Team Australia after Queensland's own Will Power sustained victory-robbing damage to his car while in a position to contend for top honours.
"The Lexmark Indy 300 injects $60 million into Queensland and I think we've seen that over the past four days through the crowd numbers, excellent television coverage, overall media coverage and the business being generated on the Gold Coast."
Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman Terry Mackenroth was delighted to claim the number one Australian motorsport event mantle.
"The event just goes from strength to strength," said Mackenroth. "We have surpassed 310,000 people for the second year in a row, but importantly attracted more patrons than the Grand Prix in Melbourne.
"It was great to see Team Australia get a podium through Alex Tagliani, and witness three exciting battles in the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge for those prestigious surfboard trophies."
As naming rights sponsor of the event Lexmark paid tribute to the teams that made the event one of the most colourful and exciting in its 16-year history.
"Congratulations to all of the race teams that participated in the Lexmark Indy 300," said Gary Cox, Managing Director, Lexmark ANZ.
"Lexmark is pleased to have been part of such a fun, exciting and high performance event."
V8 Supercars Australia Chairman Tony Cochrane said the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at the Lexmark Indy 300 continued to be a benchmark.
"Once again what a wonderful event it has been," said Cochrane. "The Indy carnival and Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge, along with events such as the Clipsal 500 and Super Cheap Auto 1000 continue to set the benchmark for motorsport in this country and the world.
"The Queensland Government should again be applauded for yet another groundbreaking weekend and their continued support of the race and, in particular, the V8 Supercars."
Leading US motorsport commentator Robin Miller from Speed TV described the Lexmark Indy 300 as the Long Beach of the world.
"There are great fans, it is a great venue and most importantly, it has a great atmosphere," said Miller.
"The promoters give the fans their money's worth and it's a lesson some American track owners should take."
Grand Marshal Brant Webb left the track beaming after a fairytale trip to the Gold Coast.
"We had an absolute ball," said Webb. "We went to some great functions, met the drivers and some awesome people, and I even got to go on a hot lap in a Porsche.
"We'll be back next year. I don't know why we missed the first 15 of these events."
The final word goes to Mexican Mario Dominguez who finished second behind Philippe in the Champ Car race.
"First, I want to thank all the Australian people for putting on this great event," said Dominguez.
"I couldn't be happier to get a podium over here -- because I love it here in Australia. It's beautiful. They treat us so well. They treat the drivers as we're really superstars."
The 17th Lexmark Indy 300 will be held on the Gold Coast from October 18 to 21 next year.