GTP Nations Cup Queensland Preview

The wide open spaces of Queensland Raceway are set for a spectacular battle when drivers in four of Ferrari's fastest cars take on the might of Lamborghini, Porsche, Dodge, Maserati and Honda in round four of the Century Batteries GTP Nations...

The wide open spaces of Queensland Raceway are set for a spectacular battle when drivers in four of Ferrari's fastest cars take on the might of Lamborghini, Porsche, Dodge, Maserati and Honda in round four of the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup this weekend.

In his $350,000 F360 Modena Challenge coupe, series leader Mark Noske, 25, has the fastest current Ferrari after Michael Schumacher's formula one racer. But he will need every advantage of his Prancing Horse team car to fend off a fast-closing challenge from the German-built Porsche GT3 of two-time champion Jim Richards.

Richards broke through in round three in Canberra earlier this month for his first win of the season and now sits only two points behind Noske in the Meguiar's Top Marques Drivers Championship.

But despite the improving form of Richards and fellow Porsche drivers Peter Fitzgerald and Mark Williamson, also winners in Canberra, the long straights and wide, smooth corners of the 3.12 km Ipswich track are tipped to suit the Ferraris and the 12-cylinder Lamborghini Diablo SVR of Australian driving champion Paul Stokell.

"Queensland Raceway will suit the Ferraris and the Lamborghini. It's a fast track and there's plenty of room and because our cars are wide they will sit well through the big sweeping corners," said Wayne Park, another of the Ferrari drivers.

"I had a good test there last week and feel confident going into this weekend. I'm not in the picture for the title, but I expect we'll be in the thick of our two races on Sunday."

The field of 20 ultra-performance GT cars features three Dodge Viper ACRs coupes, including a new entry for Sydney's Ken Matthews, and the season return of Maserati's Ghibli Cup car, to be driven by Yanis Derums.

Also on the country's most exotic entry list are a total of seven Porsche GT3s, a supercharged Saleen Ford Mustang, supercharged Brabham-Honda NSX, a Chev Corvette C5, and a Nissan Skyline GT-R all-wheel drive coupe.

MEGUIAR'S TOP MARQUES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP (after Rd 3): 1 Mark Noske 83, 2 Jim Richards 81, 3 Peter Fitzgerald 63, 5 Paul Stokell 46, 5 Mark Williamson 42, 6 Peter Bradbury 29.

TIMETABLE: Friday 10.50 am - Practice (30 min.), 1.20 pm - Practice (30 min.); Saturday 12.15 pm - Qualifying (30 min.), 3.35 pm - Practice (15 min.); Sunday 8.25 am - Warm-up (10 min.), 10.45 am - Race 1 (10 laps), 4.20 pm - Race 2 (14 laps).

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jim Richards , Mark Noske , Peter Fitzgerald , Mark Williamson , Paul Stokell , Wayne Park
Teams Williams , Nissan Motorsport