Wings and slicks, open-wheel race cars will return to the circuit made famous by Formula One when the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship returns to the Clipsal 500 Adelaide in 2008.

The South Australian event, which last year attracted over 270,000 people over four days, will mark the second round of the 2008 Gold Star Championship.

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event in Sydney, to be held in early February, will open the season, whilst the remainder of the schedule looks likely to be made up of events from the Shannons Nationals schedule.

2008 will make the first time in five years that wings and slicks cars have raced on Adelaide's city streets.

Now Australia's quickest racing cars, the Formula 3 field will be expected to re-set the Adelaide lap record thanks to the 2008 introduction of new, latest-generation cars.

The existing outright lap record - 1m19.4959 - was set by current A1GP driver Ian Dyk the last time the Australian Formula 3 championship raced on the Adelaide streets in 2004.

That year the series thrilled fans with a wheel-to-wheel battle between Dyk and eventual champion Karl Reindler that saw the lap record re-set several times.

South Australian driver Jesse Wakeman said that he was thrilled to be able to race on home soil in what will be his first full F3 season.

"Every driver wants to race in front of their home crowd, it just so happens mine will be made up of about 270,000 people!" said Wakeman, whose Dallara F301 race car was present at the spectacular launch today.

"It's been a long time since Formula 3 cars have been at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide so everyone will be starting from scratch, which should make it a very even playing field.

"It's going to be awesome to be able to race one of the counties fastest cars on the world famous track in my home state, I can't wait." He said.

In 2008 multi-car operations from Adelaide-based Team BRM, Astuti Motorsport, Fleetcare TanderSport (Owned by V8 Star Garth Tander and driver / wife Leanne) and others will all run the latest chassis to the country in what is set to be a revolutionary year for Formula 3 in Australia.

Formula 3 cars are powered by 2-litre four cylinder engines producing approximately 230hp, but their light weight (550kg) and high levels of downforce ensure that they are the fastest things on Australia's circuits.

"Our new partnership with Opes Prime Stockbroking has delivered significant rewards for Australian Formula 3 Championship competitors in 2008, but returning to the Clipsal 500 Adelaide is an equally significant opportunity for the series," said Formula 3 Australia chairman James Rosenberg.

"One of the hallmarks of Formula 3 is its ability to produce great racing. Our cars are evenly matched, with great teams and great young drivers all trying to advance their careers.

"On the streets of Adelaide the action should be non stop and very fast. I know everyone within the championship is extremely excited to return to this magnificent event and fantastic circuit. We will put on a great show." He said.

Thanks to series partner Opes Prime over $500,000 in cash and prizes are available to competitors within the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship.

The 2008 Clipsal 500 Adelaide will be held between February 21 -- 24.

-credit: formula3.com.au