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An all new tarmac rally which is set to inject more than $3million a year into the Queensland economy was launched yesterday by three times World F1 Champion, Sir Jack Brabham. The SunCoast Classic scheduled for July 4-8 next year is set to give Queensland its first real taste of classic tarmac rallying and follows three years of hard work and negotiations with government and local authorities.

The SunCoast Classic will be similar in format to highly successful classic tarmac events such as the Targa Tasmania and Classic Adelaide.

Sir Jack Brabham is the patron of the SunCoast Classic and says the rally has the potential to be the best event of its type in the world. “As a Queensland resident I believe the roads, the weather and the locations are perfect for a classic tarmac rally and I am sure it will attract the world’s best cars and drivers,” said Sir Jack.

A field of 250 exotic and classic cars is expected to line up for the five day rally which will be held on closed tarmac roads in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with factory teams from Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes and Maserati all expressing interest in taking part.

Competitors including famous F1 commentator Murray Walker, event patron Sir Jack Brabham, Le Mans 24 Hour winner Australian Vern Schuppan and the legendary Peter Brock as well as a range of other international motorsport celebrities will add extra glamour to the inaugural SunCoast Classic in 2007.

The inaugural SunCoast Classic will enjoy more than six hours of dedicated coverage on Australian television as well as in more than 60 countries worldwide. The announcement of the SunCoast Classic represents a major boost to the state’s motorsport portfolio following news last week that the mooted transfer of Australia’s World Rally Championship round from WA to Queensland will not be going ahead.

According to Executive Chairman of Silverstone Events, David Edwards the SunCoast Classic will deliver a significant economical benefit to the Queensland economy at no cost to the state’s taxpayers.

“With a field of 250 cars, a total of 500 competitors, more than 600 service crew and mechanics as well as 1100 officials the SunCoast Classic will bring major benefits to the state and in particular the Sunshine Coast,” said Mr Edwards.

“Our research has shown that 80 percent of the crews entering the SunCoast Classic will come from outside Queensland delivering an even greater benefit to the state. Every one of those people will spend money on accommodation, meals travel and fuel across a week in the middle of winter which is low season for Sunshine Coast tourist operators,” he added.

“However Silvertsone Events is not staging the SunCoast Classic for altruistic reasons, we believe Queensland and in particular the Sunshine Coast hinterland provides the perfect stage for a classic tarmac rally, with the best roads, accommodation and climate for this type of rally anywhere in Australia and possibly the world,” said Mr Edwards.

“Having lived in Queensland over many years and knowing the state did not have a classic rally such as this, it was logical to pursue the possibilities and after a great deal of work we believe we have the basis of what will arguably be the best classic rally in Australia,” he added.

Unlike Targa Tasmania the SunCoast Classic will return each night to the resort town of Noosa enabling crews to stay in the same accommodation for the entire event.

“Having the cars return to Noosa each night will also allow Noosa locals and holiday makers to be a part of a true classic car festival with a range of events across the five nights the rally will be in town,” said David Edwards.

The event has also been designed to ensure minimal disruption to locals and with absolute safety in mind.

“The clerk of course Bob Carpenter has more than three decades of experience directing international rally events up to World Cup status. He has specifically designed the SunCoast Classic to meet the demands and standards of the world governing body of motorsport, the FIA, as well as the people of the Sunshine Coast and its hinterland,” said Mr Edwards.
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