Auto Racing

Australia could be back on IRL radar

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TSN.ca Staff
10/20/2009 3:02:26 PM
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The Indy Racing League says it has not ruled out returning to race in Australia.

However, IRL vice-president of public relations John Griffin says the same issues which caused the series to leave the Gold Coast last year are still an obstacle - money and scheduling.

"What we're looking for is a sanction fee that is going to cover our expenses to travel to and from the event, to allow our equipment to travel to and from the event and to allow our teams to each bring somewhere in the vicinity of 20 support staff," he tells the Gold Coast Bulletin.

It's estimated it would cost about $20-million to bring the IRL to Australia. That compares to the $3-million to $5-million it costs to stage a race in North America.

Ironically, Griffin says money is actually the least of the two concerns.

"The scheduling does not make sense," he said, pointing to Australian organizers desire to hold the race in the fall.

"Given the lure of American football and other sports in the U.S. we're looking to end our schedule before we end up too deep in their seasons.

"If we do finish our schedule later and overseas we risk disappearing from the media spotlight at home."

Griffin says Australia's best option for getting back onto the schedule is to move the event to the spring where the series is concentrating most of its international races.

Australian organizers had hoped to replace the IRL event on the Gold Coast with the A1 Grand Prix. However, they were forced to cancel the first event scheduled for later this month after the series could not guarantee its cars would be shipped to Australia in time.

2008 Surfers Paradise IndyCar race (Photo: Shawn Payne/IndyCar)

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(Photo: Shawn Payne/IndyCar)
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