Australia's newest and most exotic racing car, a $350,000 Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge, has arrived from Italy for its debut in the GT Production 1-Hour Showroom Shootout at Phillip Island, Victoria, on Sunday week.
The Ferrari, to be driven by Wayne Park, will be one of the stars of the new GTP Nation's Cup category for 300 kmh production supercars, which also includes the latest Porsche 911 GT3 of current GTP champion Jim Richards and the Lamborghini SVR of Paul Stokell.
A field of 30 cars, representing the GTP Nation's Cup and the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship categories, has entered for the Phillip Island event.
The GTP 1-Hour Showroom Shootout will allow teams to test their new machines in race conditions before the start of the Century Batteries championship in Perth on March 19 and the Nation's Cup series in Adelaide on April 9.
The GT Production entrants will start in five newly-named classes, which have been re-aligned from last season to admit the latest models on sale in Australian car showrooms.
The V8-powered Ferrari, one of a special run of Challenge competition models produced in Modena, Italy, was delivered to the Ross Palmer Motorsport team in Brisbane last Friday.
Park is preparing the left-hand drive F360, which replaces the team's F355 Challenge, but will not have time to test it before the first practice session at Phillip Island.
Despite its minimal preparation and lack of pre-race testing, the new Ferrari is expected to be immediately competitive on the high-speed Phillip Island grand prix circuit, says owner Ross Palmer.
The F360 is a major improvement on the F355, which was all but destroyed in a fiery crash at Bathurst last November.
It is 185 kg lighter, at 1170 kg, due to the use of aluminium for the body and chassis.
Weight distribution is improved for more balanced cornering, the front brakes are 20 percent bigger and a sophisticated aerodynamic design has improved downforce without the need for a rear wing.