V8 SUPERCARS events general manager Shane Howard and State Sports Minister Phil Reeves promised big economic injection, less disruption and a boost to tourism in officially launching the Gold Coast 600.
Flanked by the category’s top drivers (pictured) at Palazzo Versace, Reeves says the three-day event will inject about $50 million directly into the Gold Coast and provide an invaluable boost for marketing the region worldwide.
It’s the 21st year the event has transformed the streets of Surfers Paradise into a high-octane racing circuit and Reeves says it’s here to stay.
“(The Gold Coast 600) will deliver a significant economic boost to the Gold Coast and provides vital support to the local tourism industry, businesses and jobs,” says Reeves.
“No matter its history, on average it’s had about $50 million a year in economic impact on the Gold Coast. I’m extremely confident that V8 Supercars and the Gold Coast 600 are here for a long time because of what it does for the Gold Coast; it is a great economic driver. Let’s face it, that’s what the Gold Coast needs; a continued boost in tourism and that’s why the Queensland Government puts a large amount of money into events like this.”
The Gold Coast racing event has endured a mixed response from local businesses over the last two decades, with many complaining about disruption to unrelated business activities.
But Howard today moved to assure the business community that all measures have been taken to avoid unnecessary inconvenience, including reducing the construction phase by six weeks.
“When we were given the privilege last year of running this event, we employed a full-time community liaison to work with the businesses and residents of the Gold Coast,” he says.
“The message that we heard loud and clear is that people enjoyed the event but wanted it put up quicker, pulled down quicker and they wanted to review the traffic plans that had previously restricted the traffic going into some business areas such as Main Beach and Surfers Paradise.
“We work very closely with Surfers Paradise Alliance, the Council and Main Beach traders and I think the plan that we developed now will set a very strong platform for us to work with. A motor race event will inconvenience some people but the fact of life is, even if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s a fantastic driver for the economy and it’s a fantastic event.”
Reeves announced Scottish 1980s rockers Simple Minds as headliners for the Saturday night concert of the ‘rock n race’ festival, with a smattering of local supporting talent including Hoodoo Guru’s, Master Apprentices and Eskimo Joe.
Add 25 top shelf international drivers confirmed for the event, including two-time Gold Coast Indy winner Sebastian Bourdais, former Ferrari F1 driver Mika Salo and local favourite Will Power.
Reeves says the Gold Coast 600 will ‘kick-start an amazing six or so weeks on the Gold Coast’ that includes the International Rugby Sevens, the Foo Fighters concert at Metricon stadium and the announcement of the Commonwealth Games 2018 bid on November 11.
“It’s terrific that it’s kick-started by the 21st birthday celebration of V8 Supercars, a great Queensland company who are great producers but of not only talented sportspeople but also in running terrific events,” he says.
After signing a milestone five-year deal to compete in Texas earlier this month, Howard confirmed the V8 Supercars is in negotiations to compete in Singapore and India in the future.
The organisation recently sold a controlling stake to a Sydney-based investment firm for more than $300 million.
Archer Capital now owns 60 per cent of the V8 Supercars through its Australian Motor Racing Partners (AMRP) subsidiary, marking a significant ownership reshuffle for the Gold Coast-based motorsports brand.
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