CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 20th June 1999 U.S. MUSCLE CAR MANIA FOR GT PRODUCTION Pure American muscle will hit the track at Sandown International Motor Raceway when some of the hottest icons of popular culture...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 20th June 1999
U.S. MUSCLE CAR MANIA FOR GT PRODUCTION
Pure American muscle will hit the track at Sandown International Motor Raceway when some of the hottest icons of popular culture compete in round five of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship on June 27.
Some of America’s hottest muscle cars, including the new Dodge Viper GTS Coupe, the impressive Ford Mustang Saleen and the rumbling Chevolet Corvette C5 V8 Coupe will all come together to battle on track against the thoroughbred German built Porsche 911 RSCSs.
Sandown will see the anticipated debut of the new Dodge Viper GTS Coupe of Ray Lintott who recently returned from racing in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Lintott raced a Porsche GT2 in the legendary race but was forced to retire early from the event.
Lintott, who says he is primarily on track to have a bit of fun, accepted delivery of the Viper just two days before the last round of the championship at Hidden Valley, delaying the car’s debut until Sandown.
The Viper came from a production race series in the United States, and Lintott says the developments include fine tuning the car for Australian regulations with full roll cage and suspension changes that will help the stability of the car for Australian tracks.
"The first Viper in 1997 was an undeniable crowd pleaser, and to preserve the integrity of that car we kept it pretty much in original condition," Lintott said.
"This car will be prepared differently with a full cage and stiffer suspension making it more competitive on track and better to race against the outright competitors. Despite the fact we’ve come into the championship late and we’re behind on points, we’ll still be out there having a bit of a go."
Lintott will be racing the red sister car of Garry Waldon, who will also return to the track at Sandown Raceway aboard his race winning Viper from last season.
One of the American cars already making waves is the Ford Mustang Saleen which has proven itself as a crowd favourite with its agressive styling and stunning sound. Driven by Melbournian Craig Dean, the Mustang will be a favourite for a top position at Sandown.
"We’ve been doing quite a bit of R&D on improving the suspension and spring rates, so the car handles better in all conditions," Dean said.
"The car was great in the wet at Phillip Island, very well balanced for the amount of power it puts out. I am hoping that the conditions at Sandown will be dry so we can really stretch its legs in the cooler weather."
The cooler weather is a true key to Dean’s pursuit for a top three finish at Sandown. High temperatures at Hidden Valley saw the Mustang down on power and the cooler conditions will bring back favour to the V8 engined cars that have a tendency to run hot.
Another car on the improve in the Championship is the desirable Chevrolet Corvette C5 V8 Coupe of Murray Carter. Carter says the ‘Vette is an outstanding car to drive - but despite its desirability - is a ‘handful’ on track that demands to be "treated with respect".
"Steering a left hand drive American beauty that weighs 1370kg and pushes out 275kW of power is challenging," Carter said.
"We still have to improve our speed to be on the pace of the Porsches, but amongst ourselves, the U.S. cars will be spectacular. The ‘Vette is a true racing icon and I would prefer to be in the Corvette any day over a Porsche," said Carter.