CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise ready for racing

The spirits of Australian and International motorsport fans were sent soaring as a record day one crowd of 53 578 descended on Queensland's Surfers Paradise Street circuit for today's official start of the Lexmark Indy 300. The traditional Champ...

The spirits of Australian and International motorsport fans were sent soaring as a record day one crowd of 53 578 descended on Queensland's Surfers Paradise Street circuit for today's official start of the Lexmark Indy 300.

The traditional Champ Car drivers breakfast at Conrad Jupiters International set the tone for a calm before the storm approach for overseas drivers.

All 19 competitors, representing nine countries and including Australia's David Besnard, will now look to tackle the 4.47 kilometre circuit for the first time during tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions.

In similar style the kings of the Australian V8 Supercar Series geared up for their Gold Coast assault, taking in plenty of sustenance at today's driver's luncheon at Mano's on Main Beach.

This year's Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge program will consist of two action-packed races, which places significant importance on tomorrow's double-header practice session itinerary.

In both the Champ Car and V8 Supercar feature Events vital Championship points are up for grabs in their respective categories.

This variable will ensure added significance and importance in every driver's quest for a podium.

General Manager of the Lexmark Indy 300 James O'Brien is excited at what lies ahead during the next three days of Queensland's premier Event.

"There's no doubting the value and importance of the Lexmark Indy 300 and the continued popularity of the Event should ensure it remains a staple on Queensland's sporting calendar," said O'Brien.

"We are only a quarter of the way through the program and already there's a magnificent buzz around the Gold Coast.

"Tomorrow sees the greatly anticipated return of the Champ Cars and V8 Supercars to the streets of Surfers Paradise so it's only going to get bigger and better as we edge closer to Race Day.

"Fans can still purchase tickets at the gate so we encourage everyone to catch some Indy Fever and find their way down to the track over the next three days."

For close to 7000 South-East Queensland students and teachers, today also marked an educational experience as they took part in the annual Students Day.

Students travelled from as far south as Lismore and north from the Sunshine Coast to enjoy the electric atmosphere of the Lexmark Indy 300 and also rubbed shoulders with numerous V8 Supercar and Champ Car team representatives as they prepared their cars for tomorrow's street battle.

There was no shortage of on-track activity as numerous support classes kept the huge crowds entertained.

In the Australian Carrera Cup, series leader Alex Davison and regular duelling partner Jim Richards will fill the front row of the grid for tomorrow's night's first race under lights.

Tim Monte secured race one honours in the Aussie Racing Cars ahead of Jeff Davy and Tom Vucicevic although Quensland's John Grother set a new class course record in a great warm up to the remaining two races.

Formula 3 racing saw top qualifier Marcus Marshall fill the number one post in the opening feature followed by Aaron Caratti, with John Pettit completing the minors. The series is now shaping as a winner takes all affair during the Gold Coast program after current leader Chris Gilmore failed to finish.

The 2004 Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast will be held from October 21 to 24. Tickets for the Lexmark Indy 300 are now on sale through Ticketek on phone 1300 303 103, via www.ticketek.com.au or at any Ticketek agency.

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About this article
Series Supercars , IndyCar
Drivers David Besnard , Marcus Marshall , Jim Richards , Alex Davison , John Pettit