The popular international co-driver format used at the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 could be dropped ahead of this year’s event, the last on the current contract between V8 Supercars Australia and the Queensland government.
In previous years, the V8 Supercars teams had been required to field one overseas-based racing driver as a co-driver in each car in order to build more overseas interest in the race.
The format had proved a major drawcard, with a host of IndyCar, GT and former F1 drivers heading ‘Down Under’ for the event.
However, that arrangement is costly for both the teams and the government, which helped subsidise the appearance fees for the international stars.
Last month, local members of parliament held a meeting with the Queensland Tourism, Major Events and Commonwealth Games Minister, Jann Stuckey, to discuss how to make the event more cost-effective.
According to a report on the Speed Café website, the format is set to be relaxed to allow the same co-driver to appear at all three of the championship’s endurance events and Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast.
The previous rules have forbidden the Sandown and Bathurst drivers from participating at the Surfers Paradise event, and vice-versa.
Former F1 driver Mika Salo and on-the-market IndyCar racer Ryan Briscoe have both gone on the record to express their desire to compete at all three events with the factory-supported Ford Performance Racing and Holden Racing Team, respectively.
A spokesperson for V8 Supercars has said that announcement about the event’s format would be made “soon”.
A decision to renew the event’s contract will be made by no later than June.