Government to assess ‘long term future’ of GC600

Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell are the reigning Sunday winners at the GC600

Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell are the reigning Sunday winners at the GC600

Queensland’s Labor Government will hold talks with V8 Supercars over the long term future of the Castrol Gold Coast 600 before the end of this year.

The 2015 event is the second in a three-year deal signed by the previous Liberal Government, which was ousted from power in February.

V8 Supercars, which promotes the event, has worked hard on adding off-track entertainment to the festival over the last two years in a bid to strengthen its appeal.

The category has already put forward a proposal on the event’s future and is understood to be seeking a five-year extension.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s event, Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones vowed to make the next round of negotiations “as smooth as possible”.

The lead-up to the signing of the current agreement had been dogged by speculation that the race would be dumped.

“This current (GC600) agreement lasts until the end of 2016, so I would be anticipating at the end of this year that we’ll start negotiations with V8 Supercars,” said Ms Jones.

“Obviously I’m happy to sit down with V8 Supercars and look at the long term future of the event.

“We are so excited that the sponsorship that we are providing for this event will mean that this year’s event will be the biggest ever put on.

“We know that this event generates $40 million for the Queensland economy and gives a real kick start to the Gold Coast businesses here.

“I think this is a great, iconic event for Queensland and I want to nut out that detail (on its future) with V8 Supercars.”

Ms Jones added that the race is “another way to promote the Gold Coast to a world audience ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2018”.

The signing of the American Stadium Super Truck category as a support ensures the Surfers Paradise streets will feature an international racing act for the first time since 2008.

The GC600 had been contested with international co-drivers between 2010 and 2012 in a bid to retain a global interest following the final IndyCar race in 2008 and a failed A1GP contract the following year.

In addition to the GC600, the Queensland government also supports the Castrol Edge Townsville 400 and, to a minor extent, the Coates Hire Ipswich Super Sprint.

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