Australian motor racing legends Allan Moffat and Larry Perkins are set for the Ultimate Speed Comparison at the 2003 Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park on March 6-9.

In a series of unique one-lap handicap sprints, Moffat will drive a BMW 318ti road car, getting about half a minute's start on long-time rival Perkins in his Holden Commodore V8 Supercar, while the BMW WilliamsF1 test and reserve driver, Spaniard Marc Gene, will start about another 30 seconds later in one of that team's 2002-model Formula One cars.

If the handicapper gets the starting margins right, and the Ultimate Speed Comparison is anything like it was at the 2001 Grand Prix, the trio will flash across the finish line of the 5.3-kilometre circuit at exactly the same instant in all four runs on each day of the Grand Prix.

Moffat and ex-F1 driver Perkins say the speed comparison two years ago sparked almost as much talk as the 10 Bathurst 1000 wins they have had between them. The pair can't wait to race each other - and Gene, with whom they have a fierce but friendly rivalry.

"Theoretically we should all finish precisely together, but I reckon I was the outright winner last time and I'm confident that, with my Commodore V8 Supercar, I will be again this time," Perkins said. Moffat retorted: "You'll never catch me in the BMW, pal."

Both agreed the sight in their rear-vision mirrors of the F1 car bearing down on them on the finish straight was awesome. "We're well up the straight before the F1 car comes around the last turn and it just gobbles us up," Perkins added. "Just as we cross the finish line it sweeps past us at what seems like a million miles an hour. Even to a guy like me who has been in this caper a long, long time, and drove a few F1 races in the 1970s, it's a phenomenal thing to witness - and the fans just love it. Absolutely love it."

For the purposes of the photo, a cardboard cut-out of a BMW WilliamsF1 had to suffice until the real thing arrives in Melbourne in Grand Prix week.