Cochrane: International format here to stay

The Surfers Paradise pitlane

The Surfers Paradise pitlane

V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane says that the popularity of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 will see the event retain its international driver format for many years to come.

Last year’s first running of the rejuvenated Surfers Paradise event saw a one-import-per-team rule in place, resulting in 18 guest drivers in the field.

V8 Supercars upped the ante this year by stipulating that every car must include an international driver.

According to Cochrane, interest from overseas racers to compete in the event will continue to grow as its reputation spreads.

“Unless something radically goes wrong, I’d say on Sunday night this will be an automatic rubber stamp,” Cochrane told of keeping the format for next year.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of international drivers who want to come out here and race. Quite frankly, we’ve turned away nearly as many as we’ve taken.

“Next year, they’ll be that many more that will want to come because these 28 will go home and tell their mates how much fun the event was and how great V8 Supercars are.

“I don’t have any doubt we’ll have even more drivers wanting to come and do 2012.”

The idea for the current format was borne out of the Queensland Government’s desire to continue to push the Gold Coast to an international audience despite the absence of an imported category.

The 2011 event marks 20 years since the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit was first constructed for the an IndyCar Grand Prix.

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