Two New Racers Join Series

26th May 1999 SAM & MELINDA TO SPARK GTP ACTION Class D of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship has been boosted by the impending debut of two Holden Vectras GL 2.2 for AFL media personality Sam Newman and female...

26th May 1999 SAM & MELINDA TO SPARK GTP ACTION

Class D of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship has been boosted by the impending debut of two Holden Vectras GL 2.2 for AFL media personality Sam Newman and female racer Melinda Price.

Sponsored by K-Mart and run by V8 Supercar team Gibson Motorsport, the first Vectra will debut in the third round of the championship at Darwin's Hidden Valley circuit on June 4 with Newman driving the first machine, and Price running the second car from the Sandown round on June 27.

Newman returns to GTP after driving a number of races for Ford last year including the Century Batteries 3-Hour Bathurst Showroom Showdown while Price will be competing in GTP for the first time.

However, she is no stranger to the GTP "family", having teamed up with PROCAR Chairman Ross Palmer, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Peter McKay and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V racer Damien White in last year's Nurburgring 24-Hours in Germany aboard a VW beetle.

The duo will add spice to the GTP Lights Class D division of the championship which has been dominated by the Mazda 626 of Phil Kirkham in 1999.

Class D was restructured for the 1999 championship with a number of higher performing vehicles re-classified for the GTP Sports - Class S division.

"We are delighted to welcome Sam and Melinda to the GTP ranks and even more thrilled that K-Mart and Holden have acknowledged the tremendous exposure opportunities available through the Century Batteries Championship," PROCAR Chief Executive, Mr Bill West said.

"Our fantastic television package for 1999 is vital for all sponsors and I am sure that Sam and Melinda's profile will add to the category.

"Sam was very unlucky to break a throttle return spring at Bathurst and I am sure he will be very keen to get back behind the wheel."

Price's impending GTP debut will take the number of women competing in the 1999 championship to four with Paula Elstrek campaigning a Class B Mazda RX7, Sue Hughes a Class E Suzuki Swift GTi and Megan Kirkham aboard a Class S Mazda MX5.

All four have competed against each other previously, doing battle in the Mazda 121 series.

"All of us have raced against each other before and I am sure the competition is going to be pretty fierce," Price said.

"But we are not out there to worry about each other, but to make sure we beat the boys as well - starting with Sam!"

The European designed Holden Vectra is manufactured at Holden's Elizabeth plant in South Australia and is expected to be a tough competitor for the Mazda 626 - especially with Newman and Price gaining added experience and tuition from Gibson Motorsport V8 Supercar drivers, Steven Richards and Greg Murphy.

Paul Ryan paulryan@camtech.net.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Ryan Paul , Greg Murphy , Melinda Price , Phil Kirkham , Damien White , Steven Richards