Nationals action heads to Tasmania
29/08/2007 at 12:20:55 AM:

After setting the Apple Isle alight for the first time in 2006 – with near lap record times, close racing and some great entertainment – the Shannons Nationals returns to Tasmania’s Symmons Plains Raceway for the second time, this weekend, bigger and better than ever.

Four National level categories will visit the home of Tasmanian motorsport between September 1 – 2, headlined by the biggest domestic open-wheel race of the season and a competitive field of the most expensive GT racing cars in the country.

“Tasmanian racing fans will be guaranteed an action-packed program at Symmons Plains this weekend,” Shannons Nationals director Rob Curkpatrick said.

“Formula 3 will be having their marquee event of the season and have inaugurated the John Bowe trophy to present to the winner of their second race. The GT Championship field gets closer and more competitive every day whilst the Commodore Cup and HQs will be as close and hard-fought as ever.

”It’s a great value-for-money day out and a great way for dad to celebrate fathers’ day!” he said.

The 17-race program over two days will be headlined by the Country Club Tasmania Formula 3 SuperPrix – the 30 lap finale to the penultimate round of the 2007 Australian Drivers Championship.

The SuperPrix race, thanks to the local sponsorship, offers a $5000 prize pool and will only serve to heighten the already competitive action within Australia’s top Open Wheel championship.

A 24-lap race – for full championship points like the longer SuperPrix event – will serve as a competitive curtain warmer to a race that the wings-and-slicks category hopes will involve into one of the biggest of the year.

To make the weekend even bigger, the winner of the SuperPrix race will receive the John Bowe Trophy – a new prize commissioned to signify the Tasmanian racing legend’s contribution to open-wheel racing.

Leanne Tander, Tim Macrow, Charlie Hollings, James Winslow, Barton Mawer and Marco Mapelli headline the strongest ever F3 field to come to Tasmania.

John Bowe’s influence will also be felt within the ranks of the Australian GT Championship as the Glenfords Racing V8 Supercar ace comes off the back of a dominating return performance at Phillip Island three weeks ago.

Driving a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3, Bowe swept all before him at the Island in wet / dry conditions and will be looking to draw on home town support to increase his winning streak, this time on home soil.

Putting pressure on Bowe will be another talent-packed field featuring Automotive Exotica from Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche and Lotus.

Points leader Allan Simonsen (Ferrari 430GT3) and close rival Bryce Washington (Lamborghini) will continue to duke out the championship battle whilst Sven Burchartz (Porsche) and Peter Lucas (Lotus) will look to uphold the honour of their respective marques.

The doorhandle to doorhandle racing of the Empire Trade Exchange Commodore Cup Championship looks set to be a highlight – as it has been all season long.

The close battle for the series title changes dramatically this weekend with the late withdrawal of the Axent Racing team, effectively taking frontrunner Daniel Richert out of contention, which leaves the door open for multiple champion Geoff Emery (TAG Racing), but there are plenty of opportunities for a group of hungry apprentices to take the fight to the master.

Brett Holdsworth will also be looking emulate his brother Lee – the most recent V8 Supercar winner – with success in Tasmania.

As usual the biggest field of the weekend will be provided by the HQ Holdens.Teams have traveled from as far away as Western Australia and Queensland to race in the HQRA National Challenge at Symmons Plains, in what is set to be a competitive weekend – with the locals planning to use their knowledge of the track to challenge the visitors.

Tickets cost $15 on Saturday and $25 on Sunday. Kid under 16 will be admitted free.

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