Darren Palmer To Drive at Gold Coast

COURIER MAIL GTP CLASSIC - OCTOBER 15 - 18 1998 HONDA INDY 14th SEPTEMBER 1998 YOUNG PALMER FLIES IN FOR FERRARI INDY DRIVE Young US based open wheeler star Darren Palmer is set to fill some big shoes as he climbs aboard the Ferrari Eau De...

COURIER MAIL GTP CLASSIC - OCTOBER 15 - 18

1998 HONDA INDY 14th SEPTEMBER 1998

YOUNG PALMER FLIES IN FOR FERRARI INDY DRIVE

Young US based open wheeler star Darren Palmer is set to fill some big shoes as he climbs aboard the Ferrari Eau De Toilette sponsored Ferrari F355 Challenge for this weekend's The Courier Mail GTP Classic at the 1998 Honda Indy.

Palmer has made a last minute dash from his Chicago base to stand in for regular drivers John Bowe and Neil Crompton - both of whom were unable to drive the car because of clashing V8 Supercar commitments on the tightly packed Indy program.

Palmer finished second in this year's Formula Mazda series in the US, winning the final race of the Championship at the former home of the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport.

The fiercely contested open wheeler series is run on both ovals and road courses and has proven to be an important step in Palmer's development as a highly promising young driver. Palmer also finished 2nd in Class B in the Australian GT Production Car Championship in 1996.

"It was certainly bad luck for John and Neil but I am really looking forward to filling the seat this weekend," Palmer said,

"The first step is to beat the jet-lag, but I am confident I can do a strong job in the car at Indy.

"I've raced here before in a Honda NSX and am quite familiar with the circuit so it will just be a matter of getting the feel of the car during practice and qualifying.

"The team has been right on the pace all year and I've now got the job ahead of being John and Neil's 'stunt-double' for the weekend."

Palmer has already turned to Bowe who is providing the young racer with a few hints as to how to get the most out of the car.

"John has played a huge role in developing this racecar so he certainly knows it inside-out," Palmer said.

"Like any racecar, there are certain clues to making it go fast and John has already spent quite a bit of time with me to let me in on the secrets.

"John is the best in the business, so even if I can do half as good a job, the car should be right on the pace. I'd love to do a good job for Ferrari Eau De Toilette at such a big event."

Palmer will join other young guns at Indy including Sandown winner Dean Canto aboard the Maserati Ghibli and Bathurst Porsche Cup winner Rodney Forbes.

Ex-GTP champion Jim Richards is also expected to feature strongly in the event aboard a new Porsche 911 RSCS - making his return to GTP competition aboard his own car for the first time since 1996.

The Courier Mail GTP Classic will be a two race affair with a 12 lap event on Saturday afternoon and a 10 lap race on Sunday morning.

Paul Ryan paulryan@camtech.net.au

------------------------ Internet Access Australia------------------------ --- IAA is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Gold Coast Indy --- ---- Melbourne -- Tel. 03 9686 6677 -- Fax 03 9686 6644 ----- ------------------ http://www.iaccess.com.au ---------------------

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Series V8SUPERCARS