New Ford and Holdens to Race at Sandown

OAMPS INSURANCE ENDURANCE CLASSIC - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 SANDOWN INTERNATIONAL MOTOR RACEWAY TUESDAY, 8th SEPTEMBER 1998 FORD AND HOLDEN NEW MODELS GO INTO BATTLE The latest offerings from Ford and Holden will do battle for the first time...

OAMPS INSURANCE ENDURANCE CLASSIC - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 SANDOWN INTERNATIONAL MOTOR RACEWAY

TUESDAY, 8th SEPTEMBER 1998

FORD AND HOLDEN NEW MODELS GO INTO BATTLE

The latest offerings from Ford and Holden will do battle for the first time this weekend as the new AU Falcon hits the track for its debut against the VT Commodore in the GT Production OAMPS Insurance Endurance Classic at Sandown International Motor Raceway.

Former AFL star and media personality, Sam Newman will climb aboard the Ross Palmer Motorsport prepared Ford Falcon AU XR6 for its race debut with V8 Supercar star Tony Longhurst.

But former Peugeot 406 M16 Class D racer Peter Phelan will be out to topple the latest offering from the blue oval marque with his new Holden Commodore VT he will share with Group N driver Trevor Talbot.

Newman will make his endurance racing debut after driving the older model EL Falcon XR8 in round seven of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Winton.

With the experienced Longhurst on side, Newman is confident of "kicking goals" in the new car in the Class C division.

"As most people know, I'm not the kind of person to make bold and brash predictions, but I think that a win in Class C is not beyond our capabilities," Sam said.

"I've got my hands on a brand new car for the event and provided I keep it on the bitumen most of the time, we are in with a decent chance.

"Tony (Longhurst) will be joining me for the race and I'm very pleased to have him on board ... I just hope he's quick enough to keep up with me over the distance," the understated Footy Show star quipped.

The Ford vs Holden battle will provide a preview to the AU Falcon versus VT Commodore fight expected to take place in V8 Supercars next year.

Phelan's new Commodore has undergone a four month construction process and the Melbourne racer is confident of success with the new machine.

"It certainly is a great looking car and we are certain it will be very competitive," Phelan said.

"Our only major problem is the car may be the Dodge Viper of Class C - incredibly fast but pretty average on brakes.

"We are still working on different brake pads and it will be one area of the car which we will have to nurse throughout the event.

"I'm really looking forward to doing battle with the Falcon. Sam is obviously still learning but Tony will be very fast - it certainly will be an interesting fight."

Both teams also will face tough opposition from the championship winning Toyota Camry CSi of David Ratcliff who is teaming up with Geoff Full and the Mitsubishi Magna TE Sport duo of Rob Chadwick and Jim Myhill.

Newman's old machine, the EL Falcon XR8 also will be on track with "Mad" Andy Miedecke driving with Graham Hunt as will the VS Commodore of Mark Cohen and Martin Miller.

The Sandown event will be televised live by Network Ten, prior to the V8 Supercar Tickford 500.

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