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High octane highlight for motor show

The high-octane Car-nival, planned to coincide with the opening of the Brisbane International Motor Show, will be the first of its type in the River City and will officially launch the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series.

All 31 drivers, 20 team cars and 15 25m "B-Double" transporters will be on display.

A similar gathering in Sydney last year attracted up to 15,000 rev-heads.

Former series champion and Team Betta Electrical driver Craig Lowndes said while the popularity of the sport was growing, combining the events was a chance to extend the base. There are up to four million V8 fans in Australia.

"We think this will get the awareness out to a wider group of people and not just bashing the heads of those who are already converted," Lownes said.

The list of motor show cars ranges from the $13,000 Holden Barina to the Pagani Zonda two-seat roadster, priced at $1.3 million.

Motor Show organising committee chairman Chris Beecham said two Australian vehicles — the 300km/h Redback Spyder coupe and the $120,000 Croc Chopper custom motorcycle — were also expected to draw the crowds.

"It's the exotic cars people love to see, they come for those, having a once-a-year opportunity to compare everything under one roof. We proved that with last year's show, when we had a fantastic list of exotics and a record 128,000 visitors," Beecham said.

Visitors to the show will be the first to see a record line-up of more than 50 new cars making their Queensland debuts.

Manufacturers with models making their debuts include Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ford, Holden and Lamborghini.

Fiat returns after a long absence with the Grande Punto, Jaguar debuts its XK roadster and Mazda shows its MX-Crossport concept car.

The tally of new models not seen before in Queensland is believed to be the biggest since the annual motor show launched in 1962, according to Beecham.

"There will be cars people have never seen before and might never see again except in a magazine, plus an unprecedented opportunity to see more than 50 of the absolute latest cars at least double what we've had in recent years — even before they appear in the showrooms."

With around 40 car and motorcycle brands on show, Mr Beecham said the greater commitment of manufacturers and importers was warranted by the growing stature of the Queensland motor industry.

"Queenslanders bought around 22 per cent of all new vehicles last year, a record 216,000 units, and it's predicted our market will eventually surpass Victoria's," he said.

"The Queensland motor industry comprises more than 10,000 businesses, which employ around 70,000 people. What you'll see at the motor show will be not only fabulous cars but also a vital sign of our industry's strength."

The Brisbane International Motor Show, founded in 1962, is organised by the Australian Automobile Dealers Association (Queensland), a division of the Motor Trades Association-Queensland.