The big guns of GT sports car racing will be aimed at the compact and fast-moving target of John Bowe's Ferrari 360GT when round four of the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship opens at Queensland Raceway, near Ipswich, tomorrow. Bowe...
The big guns of GT sports car racing will be aimed at the compact and fast-moving target of John Bowe's Ferrari 360GT when round four of the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship opens at Queensland Raceway, near Ipswich, tomorrow.
Bowe leads the Meguiar's Drivers championship pointscore after a run of six race wins, but faces his biggest challenge of the season so far on the long, fast straights at Ipswich.
"It's going to be tough at Ipswich because it will suit the big-engined cars," Bowe said after clean-sweeping the third round a fortnight ago.
The Ferrari V8 packs a relatively small 3.8 litres while Bowe's heavyweight rivals are armed with 6.0 litre V12 Lamborghinis, 7.0 V8 Monaros and an 8.0 litre V10 Viper -- and a determination to end his points spree.
Paul Stokell and teammate Anthony Tratt are in Lamborghini Diablos, Peter Brock and Nathan Pretty in Monaros and Martin Wagg is in a Porsche GT3 RS, but Bowe rates fellow Tasmanian Greg Crick as the dark horse.
"The Monaros will be very hard to beat but I think the wild card will be Greg Crick in the Chrysler Viper," Bowe said.
"He is one of the most under-rated drivers in the country and being behind the wheel of proven race winner like the Viper, I'm sure he'll have all of those 10 cylinders somewhere up the front of the field."
Queensland is a vital round for Stokell, who is desperate to add the Nations Cup to a trophy collection that includes three prestigious Gold Star awards.
He has won races in Adelaide and at Symmons Plains this season and shown almost as much consistency as Bowe, earning 185 points and second place in the standings. Bowe has 230, while Nathan Pretty is third, on 146.
Practice tomorrow, qualifying on Saturday and Sunday's three races will mark not only the first appearance at Queensland Raceway of the Garry Rogers Motorsport Monaros, but also of star driver Peter Brock.
Brock quit circuit racing in 1997, two years before Queensland Raceway opened, but he is expected to adapt quickly to the 3.12 kilometre layout on his third outing in the red Monaro.
The Nations Cup will be part of a 16-race program presented by the PROCAR Champ Series.
Also on the bill are the fourth rounds of the Australian GT Performance Championship (presented by Strathfield), Exide Australian Production Car Championship, Poolrite V8 BRutes Series and Australian Formula 3 Championship.
The Falken Tyres Mirage Cup will stage its third round.
The GT Performance Championship will be marked by the racing debut of the BA series Ford Falcon GT, in the hands of Team GT driver Trevor Haines, from Melbourne.
The 5.4 litre V8 Ford is believed to be the first to carry the iconic Falcon GT nameplate into a major series since Allan Moffat won the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1997.
The GT will give Ford a serious contender in the GT Performance Championship, which is contested by a wide variety of high performance touring cars such as the Holden HSV GTS, BMW M3, Nissan 350Z, Subaru Impreza WRX and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after Rd 3)
Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship -- Group One/Outright, 1 J. Bowe 230, 2 P. Stokell 185, 3 N. Pretty 146, 4 G. Crick (Viper) 86, 5 P. Brock 80, 6 S. Newman 777. Group Two, 1 J. Koundouris 154.
Australian GT Performance Championship, presented by Strathfield -- 1 M. King 190, 2 W. Boatwright 154, 3 Justin Hemmes 91, 4 R. Pearson (Mazda RX-7) 87, 5 G. Alexander 86, 6 B. Morcom (Holden GTS) 72.
Exide Australian Production Car Championship -- Outright, 1 S. Loadsman 155, 2 S. Grocl 115, 3 D. Russell 94, 4 D. Ratcliff 68, 5 C. Bradshaw 63, 6 C. Alajagian (BMW 323i) 49. Class A, 1 S. Loadsman 179. Class B, 1 S. Grocl 186. Class D, 1 D. Russell 156.
Poolrite V8 BRutes Series -- 1 W. Luff 127, 2 C. Kovacs 116, 3 G. Baxter 100, 4 G. Denyer 87.5, 5 G. MacDonald 72.5, 6 D. White 70.5.