Ipswich City Council will invest in new and existing events to boost tourism to the city in the wake of the Supercars exit.
While the motor racing event at Willowbank provided a boost to the city, council was confident it could attract new events and put more backing behind others to strengthen visitor numbers.
Council yesterday acknowledged that the Supercars Championship had dropped Ipswich from its 2020 schedule.
“Council reconfirmed its significant support for the event but it wasn’t enough to have the Supercars return next year,” said council’s General Manager of Community, Cultural and Economic Development Ben Pole.
“It may be disappointing news for south east Queensland motorsport fans, but it opens up opportunities for Ipswich to invest in growing and attracting other events of regional significance.
“Latest tourism data shows Ipswich is one of Queensland’s fastest growing visitor markets so we are well positioned to evolve and expand the city’s event offering.
“That’s council’s focus and the Supercars decision reinforces that.”
Queensland Raceway’s exclusion from next year’s schedule was caused by a range of factors, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said.
“The request from teams to reduce the overall number of events and a regular flow of events in 2020 has meant Queensland Raceway is not included in next year’s rationalised program of racing,” he said.
“It was not an easy decision knowing the strong support we have in Ipswich.
“It does not mean Queensland Raceway will not return in future and it remains an important test circuit for many race teams and partners.”
Interim Administrator Greg Chemello, welcoming Hutchinson Builders on site to begin the $140 million Ipswich CBD redevelopment, said Ipswich was not alone in being dropped from the Supercars schedule.
Mr Chemello said council’s offer to the Supercars was the largest it had put up for any event.
“They were not after any more contribution from us,” he said.
“They have issues with the calendar being too crowded, pressure by the drivers and the finances of running Supercars teams.”