AUSTRALIA'S leading Ferrari driver @!Mark Noske is looking forward to next week's Grand Touring Challenge in Adelaide as a chance to finish the motor racing year the way he began it - with a win on the city's famous street circuit.
Noske is taking his $350,000 Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge coupe back to Adelaide for a 40-minute race on Saturday 30 December and a 12-lap event immediately before the international Le Mans series Race of a Thousand Years on New Year's Eve.
His Prancing Horse team car is a strong favourite in a list of 27 entrants, including an American Dodge Viper ACR - closely related to the GT-class Vipers contesting the Le Mans six-hour race - a second Ferrari F360, three Porsche GT3s, the latest Chevrolet Corvette C5, the four-wheel drive turbo Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V of new GT Production Car Champion Mark King and the Subaru Impreza WRX STi's of Scott Jacob, Clyde Lawrence and Gary Deane.
In April, Noske and his then-new Ferrari won the inaugural round of the Nations Cup championship on a shortened version of the Formula One track. Now he wants to prove their superiority on the longer, tougher full course.
The April win powered Noske into the Nations Cup lead for the first half of the season, but he was unable to add any victories in the second half and eventually finished third in the Meguiar's Top Marques Drivers Championship.
"I can't think of a better way to close the season and to celebrate New Year's Eve than with a win in Adelaide," said the 26-year-old, whose Ferrari experience this year has included piloting an ex-Schumacher F310B Formula One car acquired by his team for demonstrations.
"Adelaide is a fantastic circuit and I'm looking forward to going back. My Ferrari is a lot more developed than it was in April and I'm sure it will be fast and strong," Noske said.
Other contenders include Rusty French in a Dodge Viper ACR, Adelaide knee surgeon Greg Keene in a Porsche GT3 and veteran Bryan Thomson in a brutally-powerful Toyota Supra RZ Turbo, with King, Kenny and other 4WD pilots gaining favouritism if conditions are wet.
TIMETABLE: Friday 12.40 pm - Practice (30 min.), 7.00 pm - Qualifying (40 min.). Saturday 3.45 pm - Race 1# (40 min.). Sunday 2.20 pm - Race