NEW cars, new drivers and new teams will compete in an exciting new-look Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship this year.

The eight-round series, opening in Perth on March 19, plus non-championship events at Phillip Island this weekend and Bathurst in November, features five revised classes emphasising GTP¹s special relevance to popular road cars.

The classes are - Autobarn High Performance (Cars under $100,000) Hippies Sports Touring (Honda Integra Type R, Toyota MR2, Mazda MX-5, etc.) Pennzoil V8 Touring (Falcon and Commodore V8) Pennzoil Six-cylinder Touring (Magna, Camry, Commodore, Falcon, Hyundai, Vectra, etc.) Poolrite Four-cylinder Touring (Proton, Suzuki, Peugeot, Astra, Excel, etc.)

The class re-alignment in the six-year-old GTP series - one of Australia¹s most successful and popular motor racing championships - follows the creation of a new sister series, the Century Batteries GTP Nation¹s Cup, for ultra-high performance cars.

Ross Palmer, chief executive of category owner PROCAR Australia, said the revisions enhanced the market relevance of GTP racing to eight-cylinder, six-cylinder and four-cylinder road cars.

"Fans, competitors and sponsors, particularly vehicle makers or importers, can readily appreciate the significance of GTP racing," he said.

"For the second year, we will present a Manufacturers Trophy and it will be contested this season by potentially up to 26 car makes which have been deemed eligible.

"We have approved many new cars and the latest models such as the Honda Integra Type R and Holden Commodore HSV ClubSport R8 are on the grid for this weekend's series curtainraiser."

"The Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship will be run by the series" former administration manager Anne Reid.

"I'm excited to be managing the series in the next stage of its development. This year¹s changes will mean that competitors who previously were destined always to chase the Porsches and Ferraris will now be at the front as the headline act in their own high-profile events," she said.