THE Gold Coast's annual motor racing carnival is an iconic event on the city calendar, attracting thousands of visitors vying for a piece of the action - on and off the track.
The withdrawal of the Indy Racing League series in 2008 has seen the event overhauled for 2009, with the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport signing up for five years.
The international motor racing series will co-headline the city's premier event with the Australian V8 Supercar Series under the new name of SuperGP. Support categories include the Aussie Racing cars and Formula Ford.
This year's SuperGP will be held from October 22-25 and will be one of the first rounds of the 2009/2010 A1GP world cup of motorsport and round 11 of the V8 Supercar championship series.
It will the 19th year of the motoring spectacular on the Gold Coast.
A1GP will be the first truly international category of open-wheel racing to head to the Gold Coast with nations pitted against each other. Racing identical single-seat cars, the deliberately equalised technology allows countries as diverse as the USA, Lebanon, France, China and South Africa to compete on a level playing field.
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport chairman Tony Teixeira said the Queensland Government and the event organisers had offered every courtesy in putting the deal together in a record short period of time.
``We wanted to go back to Australia and this is the ideal venue for our series,'' he said. ``I am aware we are being given a perfect opportunity to showcase our series to the Australian fans, who have been great supporters of both the series and their own team.''
V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane has promised the V8s will put on a `must see' show in '09.
``Our new race format, featuring a 200km race on Saturday and Sunday with both tyre and fuel pit stops, will make for an absolute `must see' on the streets of Surfers Paradise," he said.
Each year organisers face a huge logistical challenge - to erect a 4.2km track through the streets of Surfers Paradise to provide the best scenic backdrop of almost any motor race in the world.
The city's party scene moves into overdrive during Indy, with most of the action centred around Surfers Paradise where restaurants, nightclubs, surf beach and high-rise accommodation overlooking the track make for an alluring mix.
Beds fill up quickly during this period, so it's wise to book ahead. Surfers Paradise is popular for those wanting to be close to the track, while neighbouring Main Beach and Broadbeach are also great options.
And if you can't get here then you can join the estimated half a billion television viewers that tune in to watch the motoring extravaganza, this year on the Seven Network.
Tickets will officially go on sale on March 23 through Ticketek on 1300 303 103 and through www.SuperGP.com.
Do you have a question about the SuperGP? Ask away on the form below