Ron Walker tries to boost Australian GP crowds

Ron Walker, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s chairman, has insisted that the Australia Grand Prix will not miss the V8 supercars. He made the comments whilst announcing a new three-year deal with global financial company ING however he said he would be happy to welcome back the V8s in 2008. The V8 category, often credited for boosting attendance at the circuit, will not be present at the event because of a clashing calendar and TV broadcasting rights. Walker stated “They’ll be back, I’m absolutely confident”. Tim Baford, the AGPC chief executive, said the V8s would be replaced by another category on the program. He refused to say what this class would be until next week’s official 2007 Australian Grand Prix launch. Wayne Cattach, the V8 supercars Australian chief, stated “We will be more than happy to return to the Grand Prix in 2008 should there be no clashes with our championship and there was an invitation”.

Grand Prix crowds fell by 15 per cent in the 2006 season as many fans and sponsors supported the Melbourne Commonwealth games instead. Ron Walker confessed “There are only so many disposable dollars for families and these things compete with each other”. Because of this, the race has been given special dispensation to sell special discounted pink tickets to women. There will be a special enclosure where singles can meet and mingle. The hope is that these discounted tickets will appeal to larger audience of people who may not have thought about attending the race under normal circumstances, and therefore boost attendance at the race.