The V8 Supercar Challenge was an annual V8 Supercars event held each October at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. First run in 1994, the sprint event was a support race to the Gold Coast Indy 300 and from 2010 was superseded by an endurance format known as the Gold Coast 600.

History

Background

The Gold Coast, of which Surfers Paradise is a suburb, had long had an association with touring cars through Surfers Paradise International Raceway in the suburb of Carrara. The track held numerous rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC), a previous incarnation of Supercars, between 1969 and 1987.[1]

Non-championship era

The Gold Coast Indy 300 was first run in 1991, however it was not until 1994 that touring cars joined the event.[2] The event, featuring cars from the ATCC, was run as a non-championship exhibition round, supporting the then CART FedEx Championship Series event. In the next two years, cars from the two-litre Australian Super Touring Championship were a support category at the event; in 1995 as the sole touring car category and in 1996 one of two touring car support categories alongside the return of the ATCC cars. Greg Murphy won the Super Touring event in both years for Brad Jones Racing. From 1997 onwards, the event returned to solely featuring five-litre ATCC cars, the category that was now known as V8 Supercars. The 1998 event was notable for providing Mark Larkham with the only event win of his decade-long full-time touring car career, albeit at a non-championship event. Due to the often crash-filled nature of the rounds, its non-championship status and the relatively quick turn-around time between the event and the Bathurst 1000, some teams used older model cars at the event, such as in 1999 when Paul Radisich won the event with a 1998-spec Ford EL Falcon, instead of their usual AU Falcon.[3]

Championship era

From 2002, the event became an official V8 Supercars championship round, with the series given equal billing to the CART event.[2] Jason Bargwanna won the first championship event at the circuit, scoring victory on a countback after finishing the weekend level on points with Craig Lowndes.[4] The 2004 event was notable for Marcos Ambrose being fined for brake-testing Rick Kelly following Ambrose's race victory on the Saturday.[4] Jamie Whincup clean-swept the final sprint event at the circuit in 2008 on the way to his first championship victory. From 2002 until 2008, the most common race format was three races over the weekend, with one on Saturday and two on Sunday. The driver with the most points accumulated over the three races was awarded first place for the weekend, with no driver able to achieve a repeat event victory in this time.

Transition into Endurance Format

In late 2008, it was announced the IndyCar Series would not be returning to the Gold Coast in 2009, bringing to an end the Indy era. A1 Grand Prix, which had been scheduled to replace IndyCar, then pulled out of the event with only weeks to go, leaving V8 Supercars as the lead category for the first time in the Gold Coast event's history.[2] Subsequently, to fill the last minute hole in the schedule, the 2009 event expanded its format to two 150 km races each on Saturday and Sunday. This format changed into two 300 km races one on saturday and one on sunday into 2010 and beyond with the introduction of the Gold Coast 600 name.

Winners

Events which were not championship rounds are indicated by a pink background.

Year Driver Team Car Report
1994 Australia John Bowe Dick Johnson Racing Ford EB Falcon Report
1995 not held
1996 Australia John Bowe Dick Johnson Racing Ford EF Falcon Report
1997 Australia Russell Ingall Perkins Engineering Holden VS Commodore Report
1998 Australia Mark Larkham Larkham Motor Sport Ford EL Falcon Report
1999 New Zealand Paul Radisich Dick Johnson Racing Ford EL Falcon Report
2000 New Zealand Paul Radisich Dick Johnson Racing Ford AU Falcon Report
2001 Australia Garth Tander Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden VX Commodore Report
2002 Australia Jason Bargwanna Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden VX Commodore
2003 Australia Russell Ingall Stone Brothers Racing Ford BA Falcon
2004 New Zealand Greg Murphy Kmart Racing Team Holden VY Commodore
2005 Australia Craig Lowndes Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford BA Falcon
2006 Australia Todd Kelly Holden Racing Team Holden VZ Commodore
2007 Australia Garth Tander HSV Dealer Team Holden VE Commodore Report
2008 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford BF Falcon Report
2009 Australia Mark Winterbottom Ford Performance Racing Ford FG Falcon

Multiple winners

By driver

Wins which did not count towards the championship season are indicated by a pink background.

Event wins Driver Years
2 Australia John Bowe 1994, 1996
New Zealand Paul Radisich 1999, 2000
Australia Russell Ingall 1997, 2003
Australia Garth Tander 2001, 2007

By team

Event wins Team
4 Dick Johnson Racing
2 Garry Rogers Motorsport
HSV Dealer Team1
Triple Eight Race Engineering

By manufacturer

Event wins Manufacturer
9 Ford
6 Holden
Notes
  • ^1 – HSV Dealer Team was known as Kmart Racing from 2001 to 2004, hence their statistics are combined.

Event names and sponsors

See also

References

  1. ^ Greenhalgh, David; Howard, Graham; Wilson, Stewart (2011). The official history: Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years. St Leonards, New South Wales: Chevron Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-9805912-2-4.
  2. ^ a b c Lomas, Gordon (23 October 2016). "GC600 marks silver anniversary of street race". Speedcafe. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Sufers Paul Radisich Report". au.motorsport.com. 17 October 1999. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b "LOOK BACK: The Indy 300 glory years to V8s at Gold Coast 600". Gold Coast Bulletin. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2017.