ALMOST 200 cars spanning nine decades of motoring will line up for the 19th annual Historic Leyburn Sprints.

The oldest starter will be an Indy Special single-seater based on a 1934 Ford V8 and driven by its Brisbane-based builder Rod McMullin.

The car will return to the track after competing in the Targa Tasmania rally earlier this year in the hands of Warwick region motorsport identity Graham Copeland.

It will be part of a widely diverse list of racing, sports and touring cars, including little-known makes such as Kurtis, Bowin, Centaur, Tiga, Turner, TVR, Gould and Dallara and famous ones like Maserati.

The Sprints, celebrating the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on an ex-wartime airfield near the old gold town, are one of the most popular regional motorsport events in southern Queensland.

Organisers expect thousands of spectators to be attracted to the mix of historic, classic and performance cars on-track and the event’s grassroots country atmosphere.

As well as time trials on a one-kilometre round-the-houses course, the Sprints will host a new Retro Caravan Show Off for vintage caravans and, on Sunday only, the now-traditional Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine car display.

While McMullin is a Leyburn stalwart, organisers say they have accepted around 80 entries from cars that did not compete in 2013 – meaning spectators can expect plenty of ‘fresh’ machinery to enjoy during the time trials.

Brisbane’s Warwick Hutchinson will return with his Van Diemen RF92 racer in a bid to lift his fourth Col Furness Memorial Trophy for the outright fastest time.

New entries include a thundering American NASCAR, an English Turner sports car and a replica of the legendary Audi quattro S1 Group B rally car.

The 1968 Turner was driven in its hey-day by Queenland legend John French, who will be reunited with the car for the first time in decades on his annual visit to the Sprints.

The Audi will demonstrate performance at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum to the nimble Turner.

It’s an exact replica of a 1981 model regarded as one of the most powerful, sophisticated and fearsome world rally cars of all time. At Leyburn, it will be driven by rally expert Stewart Reid, a former stunt driver the skill and experience top tame its 600 horsepower.


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