A FORMULA One car will be driven around Sturt Street in a spectacular prelude to the 2011 Australian Grand Prix.

The high-octane Formula One action will start at 3pm on Sunday when Minardi test driver Zolt Baumgartner will start his engine for eight laps of Ballarat’s main street.

Traffic will be brought to a standstill as the sound of an F1 engine roars from Lydiard to Grenville streets. The exhibition will finish at the Bridge Mall, where the two-seater F1 car will be on display for 90 minutes.

Hundreds of motorsport fans are expected to line Sturt Street for what promises to be an incredible display of F1 power and engineering.

Ballarat go-kart racer Ash Quiddington, 17, said he was excited that an F1 car would rev its engine in the city. He said it was a rare opportunity to see an F1 car in a regional city.

Only a handful of cities and towns have had an F1 car visit, including Kinglake in 2009. Australian F1 racer Mark Webber drove his car over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2005 in an event beamed live around Australia.

“It’s a good thing for Ballarat and to promote the Grand Prix. I think it will draw a big crowd especially because they are such famous racing cars around the world,” Ash said.

“I went down to the Grand Prix before I started racing. It made me more interested so I had a look at the go-karts. My top goal is to race Formula One. I hope to make it to the V8s, then Formula One.”