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Summernats festival rumbles into Canberra

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January 04, 2018

Hundreds of hotted up cars have rolled down Canberra's main drag as Summernats festival kicks off.

Canberra's annual festival of burnt rubber and hotted up cars will take on safety lessons from a death at the event last year.

Queenslander Luke Newsome, 30 died after falling off the back of a ute at the Summernats car festival and the driver is facing culpable driving charges in court.

Organiser Andy Lopez said a full safety review had been conducted.

"We'll be reinforcing the rule about not riding in the back of utes," Mr Lopez said.

"We're working very hard to make sure people who come to the event have a great time and get home safely."

There will also be adjustments to perimetre fencing separating the crowd from the burn out action after a dozen patrons were burned at the Red Centrenats Alice Springs event in September.

Three hundred hot rods and street machines rumbled down Canberra's main drag - Northbourne Avenue - on Thursday as part of the opening ceremony.

There was an embarrassing break down for the driver of a yellow Camaro during the parade.

It's the 31st edition of the car festival and more than 2000 vehicles have registered and more than 110,000 people are predicted to turn out at Exhibition Park.

The official burn-out competitions start on Friday.

Police will be on the lookout for anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving around the event, including speeding and burn-outs.

This year's event aims to be more female-friendly - the Miss Summernats pageant has been dumped from the program in an effort to reduce sexual harassment incidents.

"For us it didn't really bring anything to the event in itself," he said, adding he hopes to encourage more women drivers to participate as entrants.

Mr Lopez predicts the festival will inject $25 million into the ACT economy at a quiet time of year.

The festival's music line up includes Wolfmother, Thundamentals and 28 Days.

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