Sandown 500 returns to schedule

THE Sandown 500, one of Australia's most prestigious and historic motor races, will return to the calendar in September as an event for production-based cars. The Chief Executive of PROCAR Australia, Ross Palmer, confirmed today an ...

THE Sandown 500, one of Australia's most prestigious and historic motor races, will return to the calendar in September as an event for production-based cars.

The Chief Executive of PROCAR Australia, Ross Palmer, confirmed today an agreement had been reached with Sandown promoter Jon Davison to stage the race at Melbourne's Sandown International Raceway on Sunday 16 September.

The Sandown 500 will be a non-championship event for competitors from the Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship and Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship and is expected to feature the biggest variety of makes in its 37-year history, including Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Viper, Mustang, HSV Commodore, Lotus, Subaru, BMW and Honda.

Mr Palmer said that despite widespread speculation over the Sandown 500, details had been finalised only in the past few days after consultations with potential entrants.

"We're all excited to be involved with Jon Davison in a race that has had a prestigious place in Australian motorsport since 1964 and to have secured it for our teams and sponsors," he said.

"Winning the Sandown 500 will mean a Nations Cup or GTP driver going into the record book alongside many of the greatest names in Australian racing such as Brock, Moffat, Richards, Brabham and Lowndes. In fact, we already know some of this year's intending entrants will be pairing up with leading V8 Supercar drivers."

Mr Davison welcomed the deal and urged teams to "think big and look overseas" in their search for extra drivers.

"This is an historic event and with Nations Cup and GTP it has a lot of new potential, especially to involve a wide cross-section of the automotive industry in entering production-based cars," he said.

The 33rd Sandown 500 - races were not run in 1966, 1967, 1999 and 2000 - will be televised in Australia on Network Ten and Fox Sports, plus in New Zealand.

The Sandown 500 will be the feature event at the 2001 PROCAR Series meeting, which also will host championship rounds of the Nations Cup, GT Performance and GT Production series, V8 BRute Muster, Australian Formula 3 Championship and Toyo Mitsubishi Mirage series.

-Chris Nixon

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