Adelaide ready for GTP kick-off today

Champ Plays Giant-Killer As Adelaide Kicks Off 2001 GT Production Car Series MORE than 40 of the fastest performance cars for sale in Australia will help launch a record season for the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship...

Champ Plays Giant-Killer As Adelaide Kicks Off 2001 GT Production Car Series

MORE than 40 of the fastest performance cars for sale in Australia will help launch a record season for the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship in Adelaide today.

Fifteen different models from V8 Holdens to VW Beetles will take to the Adelaide city street circuit to practice for Round 1 races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

An unprecedented number of entries for the sixth season of the championship for standard passenger cars have allowed organiser PROCAR Australia to create two series across five classes that group cars according to performance or engine type.

The eight-round GT Performance Series starting this weekend features High Performance and Sports Touring class cars such as the Holden Commodore HSV GTS 300i - Australia=B9s fastest sedan - and the nimble, rally-bred Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo VI from Japan.

Five drivers including Bathurst enduro winner Ed Aitken have entered the big V8 Holdens, which have shown a liking for Adelaide=B9s long, fast straights. But defending champion Mark King believes his Lancer Evo V can again be a giant-killer.

"The Lancer is a quick little car with four-wheel drive and fantastic brakes and we showed when we raced here last December that it can beat more powerful cars in the right conditions," King said.

"There are plenty of untested new cars and drivers this weekend, but our Delphi team decided to stay with a proven package which will give us the best chance of earning points straight off the mark."

Strong interest is focused on the Volkswagen works entry of two Beetle RSi's in the Sports Touring class.

V8 Supercar drivers Matthew Coleman and Tim Leahy will race the six-cylinder Beetles against the Honda Integra of Bathurst class winner John Cowley, three Toyotas, three BMWs and a Mitsubishi FTO.

Coleman said: "We don't know how the Beetles will go on track, but they're already winners in the paddock. The fans are swarming over these cars - they're so surprised to see them racing."

WEEKEND TIMETABLE:
Friday - 8.20 am (Practice, 20 min.).
Saturday - 9.25 am (Qualifying, 20 min.), 5 pm (Race 1#, 12 laps). Sunday - 9.45 am (Race 2#, 12 laps).

-www.procar.com.au.

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Series Supercars
Drivers Mark King