America’s NASCAR championship could be coming to Australia as soon as next year as part of the annual Supercars event on the Gold Coast.
NASCAR officials visited August’s event at The Bend in August and Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer has confirmed “preliminary” discussions are underway about bringing the category Down Under.
“We don’t want to get carried away but those guys came down and met with us in August,” Seamer told reporters on Friday.
“We committed to having a more open and regular dialogue and we have spoken to DJR Team Penske and we are gathering information on how we might be able to get cars out and when we might be able to get cars out.”
The burdgeoning NASCAR partnership will be on display at this weekend’s Gold Coast 600, with DJR Team Penske drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard to drive a 2016 Ford Fusion NASCAR supplied by the team’s American owners in demonstration laps.
It’s unclear what cars or format would be available to take part on the Gold Coast, with a race in Virginia scheduled for the category’s premier Cup series on the dates of the 2019 Gold Coast event.
That would mean competitors from the second-tier Xfinity Series may be the most realistic option for an Australian event.
Reintroducing an international element to the Surfers Paradise street circuit is an attractive proposition for the Queensland government.
IndyCar competed at the venue from the first event in 1991 through to 2008 and Tourism Minister Kate Jones said a NASCAR element would be a major drawcard.
“We know that Supercars is a great product but we also know that there are many fans out there that would love to see NASCAR or IndyCars added,” Ms Jones said.
Supercars have already announced a revamp to the Gold Coast event in 2019, moving from two 300km races across the weekend to a single 500km event on Sunday.
The current deal for the event between the Queensland government and Supercars runs until the end of next year.