Indy may not have the history or importance to rival the Mount Panorama Bathurst 1000 spectacle, one ingredient it does have in abundance is glitz and glamour—a bit like Schoolies week for grown-ups, attracting the Chardonnay and Champagne set for their once a year motorsport feast during the four day carnival.
Indy still attracts the basic core of motor racing fans in large numbers during race week taking in rounds of both the V8 Supercar and Champ car seasons. Many who trudged through the mud at Oran park in round eight, slept in tents at Bathurst and encountered the drought and bush fires at Winton find themselves in swank two and a half star accommodation smack bang in the middle of Australia's number one holiday playground.
The 2007 Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast is expected to attract more than 300,000 people this weekend with the biggest names in Australian motorsport including Skaife, Lowndes, Whincup, Courtney, Kelly and co-sharing centre stage with International drivers including Bourdais, Tracy, Dominguez, and Vasser.
Over the 16 years of Indy on the Gold Coast, the Champ Cars have lit up the track clocking speeds in excess of 300km per hour as the drivers chase the rich series prize money and acclaim. Champ Car racing features 800-horsepower open wheel vehicles in an international 14-round series held in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Korea and Australia.
The Lexmark Indy 300 winners honour roll features some of the World's best known drivers including, John Andretti (1991), Emerson Fittipaldi (1992), Nigel Mansell (1993), Michael Andretti (1994), Paul Tracy (1995), Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1998), Dario Franchitti (1999), Cristiano da Matta (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2003) and Bruno Junqueira (2004) Sebastian Bourdais (2005).
An amazing record is that there have been 16 different winners in 16 years, a record that Dominguez, Zanardi, Tracy and Bourdais will be aiming to break in 2007. A massive coup for the Lexmark Indy 300 this year is the home grown talent of Will Power, currently running fourth in the series driving for Team Australia, Power will be aiming to better the seventh-place finish by fellow Aussie David Besnard in 2004 in a special one-off Champ car drive.
Joining the Champ Cars at the top of the bill will be the V8 Supercar Challenge—the 11th round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes have taken a firm grip in the battle for the Supercar crown this year after the crash and bash spectacle at the previous Bathurst round put paid to a few championship aspirations, although the Triple Eight Team will be aware while the Gold Coast is famous for it's sunshine past title dreams have been dampened in paradise.
Rick Kelly, Garth Tander and Todd Kelly will be pushing hard on the tough street circuit, trying to put as much pressure on Lowndes and Whincup to resurrect their own championship hopes, before both the Triple Eight drivers dust off a space in the trophy cabinet next to their recently acquired Bathurst 1000 and Sandown trophies for the 2007 championship series Crown. Thirty one V8 Supercars in three championship races around the confines of the Surfers Paradise concrete canyon should be a beauty.
The 4.47km circuit consists of 2515 concrete blocks which all weigh four tonnes each. They are moved to and from the circuit six at a time on the back of a line of semi-trailers. In other interesting statistics, the circuit requires 10km of debris fencing, 16km of security fencing and 10 temporary bridges. It is all constructed in 96 days, down from the 199 days it took only ten years ago in 1997. Even now the inventory infrastructure is three times what it was in the first year in 1991.
More than 1500 people volunteer their services to deliver the Event in roles such as track marshalls, media assistants, accreditation staff, corporate hosts, gate officials, fire marshalls, grandstand officials, flag marshalls, information booth attendants, grid marshalls and much more. In fact 43 of these 1500 have been volunteers every year since the event started in 1991.