ALMOST 20 new cars or drivers, including an official factory team of two Volkswagen Beetles, will swell the ranks of this year's Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship when the series kicks off in Adelaide on 6-8 April. The...
ALMOST 20 new cars or drivers, including an official factory team of two Volkswagen Beetles, will swell the ranks of this year's Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship when the series kicks off in Adelaide on 6-8 April.
The entry list for the championship's new eight-round GT Performance division features some of the fastest roadgoing sedans and coupes available in Australia, including the Beetles, five of Holden's 400 horsepower Commodore GTS sedans, Mitsubishi's new rally-bred Lancer RS Evolution VI and an FTO coupe, six Honda sports models, three Toyota Celicas and four examples of the Australian Performance Car of the Year, the Nissan 200SX Spec-R.
New regular drivers expected to spice up the action include several with V8 Supercar experience, such as Volkswagen teammates Tim Leahy and Matthew Coleman, plus Charlie O'Brien (Nissan 200SX), Brett Peters (Subaru WRX STi) and Bob Pearson (Mazda RX-7).
"This is a fantastic line-up of 44 cars for round one and signals our fans are in for a great season," said Ross Palmer, Chief Executive of series organiser PROCAR Australia.
"The booming popularity of this category for standard passenger cars means most of the mainstream makes for sale in Australia are represented in our races and the fans love to see the cars they drive on the road in competition on the track.
"It's put such pressure on our grid capacities that this year we've been able to create two series out of the GT Production Car Championship. The GT Performance and GT Production divisions will each have their own eight-round series, giving the fans extra opportunities to watch them in action."
The 2001 series will provide valuable development experience for some of Australia's most talented young racers.
Adelaide driver Craig Dontas, 21, moves up from a Commodore SS to a 245 kmh Commodore GTS and Sydney's Nathan Thomas, 23, from a tiny but feisty Suzuki Swift to a rapid Honda Integra Type R. At 23, Leahy already has miles behind him in Formula Ford, Formula Holden and V8 Supercars while Coleman, 27, has raced V8 Supercars and a works Audi A4 quattro Super Touring car.