An entry capped at 550 cars spanning eight decades of racing to the late 1980s, more than 50 vehicles coming from overseas and a stunning list of cars and famous racing personalities, have already stamped that imprimatur on the event. There is already a waiting list of over 30 for both the Group S sports car and Under 3000cc Touring Car categories. This year's meeting theme 'Australian Legends' has brought in a flood of entries and interest. Australian makes participating in the 33-event, three day programme that commences on Friday March 7 include Ascort, Buchanan, Buckle, Elfin, Matich, Maybach and Nota, while many other rare Australian specials from Lightburn Zetas to Goggomobil Darts are planning to make a pilgrimage to Phillip Island. Bill Buckle, the creator of the Dart and the lesser-known Zephyr powered Buckle 2.5 Coupe, has been invited to be a special guest of the meeting to celebrate the Dart's 50th anniversary.
The overseas entries include 19 Formula 5000 and 10 Formula Junior racing cars from New Zealand and some 15 cars from the UK, including another six Formula Juniors and the 1931 Australian Grand Prix winning Bugatti T39. From the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart comes the famous 1100HP Porsche 917/30 sports car raced by the late Mark Donohue in the 1973 Can-Am series, while also from Germany there is a race-prepared Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing to be driven by 1983 Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan. Under the expanded 2008 Shannons Phillip Island Classic format, practice and qualifying for all categories will be held on Friday March 7, with a total of 33 races for all categories in the Saturday and Sunday. A racing highlight of the Sunday programme will again be the VACC Challenge in which a combined grid of 32 Formula 5000 and former 1970s and 1980s Formula One cars will take part in a 12 lap feature race.