Symmons: Event preview

PROCAR Champ Series, 6-7 April, Symmons Plains, Tasmania Bowe V Stokell, Ferrari V Lamborghini - Tassie heroes head for Symmons Showdown Expect Bathurst winner John Bowe to claim that a V8 is best, but Paul Stokell says 12 cylinders are...

PROCAR Champ Series, 6-7 April, Symmons Plains, Tasmania

Bowe V Stokell, Ferrari V Lamborghini -
Tassie heroes head for Symmons Showdown

Expect Bathurst winner John Bowe to claim that a V8 is best, but Paul Stokell says 12 cylinders are better and is out to prove it when the champion Tasmanian race drivers clash in their $700,000-plus cars at Symmons Plains circuit next month.

Bowe, who hails originally from Devonport, and Stokell, from Hobart, will compete in a field of around 20 exotic sports cars in round two of the Australian Nations Cup Championship on 6-7 April.

They are two of Tasmania's most successful and popular racers and each drives an Italian coupe worth almost three-quarters of a million dollars - Stokell a V12 Lamborghini Diablo GTR and Bowe a V8 Ferrari 360 Michelotto.

The two 35-lap Nations Cup races will be a highlight of the PROCAR Champ Series meeting, expected to be Tasmania's biggest circuit-racing event this year.

A packed program also will include the Australian GT Performance and GT Production Car Championships, the spectacular V8 BRute Muster, the Australian Formula 3 Championship, the Mitsubishi Mirage series and local touring cars.

Around 120 cars are heading to the island State from the mainland.

With an entry list representing many millions of dollars, the Nations Cup is the glamor series of Australian motorsport.

The world's greatest sports car makes - Ferrari and Lamborghini from Italy, Porsche from Germany, Honda NSX from Japan and Viper and Mustang from the United States - are expected to be among the starters at Symmons Plains.

After the opening round in Adelaide last weekend, Stokell has two wins to Bowe's one and leads the championship by just four points.

"Four points is nothing and I'm looking forward to a couple of great dices with Paul," Bowe said.

"However, Symmons has always suited big-engined cars like the Lamborghini. I can't match Paul for speed, but over the race distance I hope to wear him down because the Ferrari's brakes will be better."

Said Stokell: "It's going to be great. Symmons is my home track, but I haven't raced there for six or seven years. It's got a long straight and I hope all John sees of it is the Lambo's exhausts."

Bowe's red Ferrari will be far from the only threat to the awesome black Lamborghini.

While the V10-engined Chrysler Vipers of Geoff Morgan and D'arcy Russell should fly at Symmons Plains, Stokell rates Jim Richards in a comparatively modest Porsche GT3 Cup as one of the biggest threats.

Richards is the 2000 and 2001 Nations Cup champion and has had more recent experience of the circuit during his string of five Targa Tasmania wins.

"You can never under-estimate Jim. He knows Symmons Plains well and is always competitive. The new Porsche GT3 Cup might have only six cylinders to the Lamborghini's 12, but it's a quick thing and has excellent brakes," Stokell said.

Organisers of the PROCAR Champ Series have promised plenty of entertainment as well as action for Tasmania's return to top-flight motor racing.

Cars from several categories, including Stokell's Lamborghini, will be displayed in the Hobart city mall on Tuesday and Wednesday 2-3 April.

On Thursday afternoon 4 April, race cars and transporters will parade through Launceston streets before an evening display in the city centre. Drivers will host an open-air breakfast there the next morning before heading to the circuit for official practice sessions.

FAST FACTS about the PROCAR Champ Series at Symmons Plains

* Saturday & Sunday, 6-7 April (Official practice Friday 5 April).

* Categories - Nations Cup (Rd 2), GT Performance (Rd 2), GT Production Cars (Rd 2), V8 BRutes (Rd 2), Formula 3 (Rd 2), Mitsubishi Mirages, Combined Local Sedans. Ute Muster display and competition for road utes on Sunday.

* Saturday (From 9 am) - Qualifying, including Nations Cup Top 8 Eliminator; Combined Local Sedans race.

* Sunday (From 9 am) - 15 races, all categories.

* Tickets - On sale at all Autobarn stores in Tasmania or at the track. Adults $15 (Saturday), $25 (Sunday). Students 12-16 years $10 (Saturday and Sunday). Ute drivers enter free with paying adult passenger.

-www.procar.com.au-

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