New year, top gear, party here...

International motor racing is set to return to the streets of Adelaide for a real millennium party that you will never forget. Tickets were officially launched today at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre for Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years,...

International motor racing is set to return to the streets of Adelaide for a real millennium party that you will never forget.

Tickets were officially launched today at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre for Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years, the final round of the 2000 Le Mans Series.

The world's leading sportscar drivers and teams will do battle over six hours on the full Adelaide Grand Prix circuit ­ greeting the chequered flag at 10.00 o'clock at night.

But while the race concludes at 10.00pm, the waving of the flag will actually signal the start of the biggest New Year's Eve party Adelaide has ever seen.

The new year will be welcomed by a huge international concert and party. Negotiations are currently well advanced with a major international act to headline the new year party celebrations.

"Like our theme says, 'New year, top gear, party here', the whole event is much more than just a car race," Le Mans Adelaide, Managing Director, Mr Dean Rainsford said.

"We will be creating a huge entertainment carnival complex with attractions for all ages. Food, wine, music, and fashion will be featured strongly and the international car race will really be a bonus."

Tickets for Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years are now available from BASS outlets and represent outstanding value for money.

Premium seats in the chicane range from $179.00 to $199.00 for the three-day event. This compares to $480.00 for a comparable seat at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this year or $360.00 at the Gold Coast Indy event in 1999 ­ marking Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years as Australia's best value international motorsport event.

General admission tickets for the event are available from $105.00 for a three day pass and only $25.00 for three days for children.

"The Sunday race-day activities are going to be quite spectacular with the action kicking off at lunchtime and continuing right through to midnight and beyond," Mr Rainsford said.

"The way the points system is structured in the Le Mans Series, there is every chance we could see the championship decided on the streets of Adelaide.

"The points really reward consistency and last year's title also went right down to the wire. Audi and BMW have had one win each so far this year, but David Brabham and the Panoz squad have also shown great speed.

Mr Rainsford also paid credit to State Tourism Minister Joan Hall, and series founder Don Panoz in cementing the Adelaide deal.

"There were a wide variety of options for Don Panoz as to where to hold a race in this part of the world, but Minister Hall did a fantastic job in selling the advantages of Adelaide and South Australia," Mr Rainsford said.

"Don has done a fantastic job in creating the Le Mans Series and capturing the mystique and the spectacle of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"Adelaide race fans will be in for a unique treat, particularly once the sun sets. The glowing brakes, flaming exhausts and fierce competition makes for a unique spectacle."

The Le Mans series features three separate classes doing battle for individual honours in the one race ­ Prototype, GTS and GT cars.

Negotiating the traffic is one of the secrets for success for the prototype drivers being up to 100km/h faster than the GT cars.

More than 35 cars are expected to race, including the exciting Prototype class (with factory entries from Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Panoz), the GTS class for cars such as Dodge Vipers, Corvettes and Mustangs and the production GT class for BMW M3s and the Porsche GT3-R.

Leading stars expected to contest the event include a host of former Grand Prix drivers who have previously raced on the Adelaide circuit including David Brabham, Yannick Dalmas, Michele Albereto, Stefan Johansson, JJ Lehto, Peirluigi Martini, Eric Bernard, and Karl Wendlinger.

Tickets are now available from all BASS ticket outlets, the BASS website at www.bass.sa.com.au or by phoning 131 246.

-Paul Ryan-

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Series Le Mans
Drivers David Brabham , Stefan Johansson , Yannick Dalmas , Karl Wendlinger , Ryan Paul , Don Panoz , JJ Lehto