2000 GTP Season Launches in Western Australia

A NEW-look Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship launches its 2000 season this weekend with a powerful entry of 34 cars for the series' first visit to Western Australia. Up to 20 different models representing 12 makes will...

A NEW-look Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship launches its 2000 season this weekend with a powerful entry of 34 cars for the series' first visit to Western Australia.

Up to 20 different models representing 12 makes will compete in two events at Barbagallo Raceway, near Perth, in a showdown between popular and recognisable road cars available off the showroom floor.

Outright contenders for the 25-minute races on Saturday and Sunday include Olympian and ironman champion Grant Kenny, who will drive a 280 horsepower Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

The legendary surfer is so committed to his new sporting passion that for the first time in 23 years he will miss the national surf lifesaving titles, which will be held on the Gold Coast this weekend.

But Kenny's quest for his first GTP victory faces hot competition from others in his Autobarn High Performance class, including four more of the all-wheel drive Subarus, four similarly-equipped Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution V models, six twin-turbocharged Mazda RX7 coupes - and a solitary Holden Commodore V8.

"I know the crowd will be behind the Aussie V8," said Queenslander Ross Dillon, driver of the 350 hp Commodore HSV ClubSport R8. "We might struggle a bit against Grant and all those small Japanese turbo cars, but I think the Commodore is certainly a chance - it will go all day."

Under a new five-class system corresponding to mass-produced vehicle types such as four, six and eight-cylinder sedans, the eight-round national GTP Championship will showcase everything from Suzukis to Falcons and BMWs. Last year's outright contenders from Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati and other exotic makes will race this season in an exciting new sister series, the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup.

"The competitiveness and relevance of GTP racing has ensured it is one of Australia's most popular motorsport series. It says a lot for the championship and for WA fans that we are able to go to Perth for the first time and start our 2000 season there with a healthy entry list of 34 cars, including a couple of locals," said championship organiser Ross Palmer, of PROCAR Australia.

This weekend's GTP races will be featured on Network Ten's Trackside program on March 26.

Weekend timetable. Friday: 10.40 am, 1.40 pm - practice. Saturday: 8.35 am, 11.55 am - qualifying; 3 pm - race (25 min.). Sunday: 9.25 am - warm-up; 11.20 am - race (25 min.).

PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY: Century Batteries, Meguiars Killer Shine, Autobarn, Pennzoil-Quaker State, Poolrite, Hippies

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