The premier motorsports series in Australia is the Australian V8 Supercar Series. Australia has had decades of racing as the V8 Supercar Series stemmed from the now-defunct Australian Touring Car Championship. The V8 Supercar Series has been around since 1994. Its exponential growth in popularity and hard-fought racing has made it one of the best racing series in the world. For Australians, it is a season-long battle of bragging rights- either you are a Holden fan, or you are a Ford [Australia] fan. In the near future, Nissan will return to the V8 Supercar lineup, so you're either with the Aussie brands or with Japan. There is even a rumor about Chrysler wanting to join the V8 Supercar grid as well. Either way, this is one of the greatest racing series in the world.
I never really got to make a general blog post regarding "The Greatest Show on Wheels." So therefore, consider this my general post regarding the Australian V8 Supercar Series. I would like to make a special hello to all of my Australian and New Zealand readers before I begin.
LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S):MAR 21 2012 - added an extra section (cross-promotion and other reading)
--- The Australian V8 Supercar Series at a Glance ---Allow me to set the mood regarding the Australian V8 Supercar Series. What is this motorsports series all about? This video gives you a GREAT look at the Australian V8 Supercar Series. This video only requires about 2:25.000 of your time:
^ "V8 Supercars 2010 Highlights" - Crazy stuff, huh?
(some information taken from Wikipedia)
The Australian V8 Supercar Series was inaugurated in 1997 and is the successor to the former Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC). The cars that compete in this series are silhouettes of road-going cars in Australia. All cars are powered by 5.0-liter normally-aspirated V8 engines pushing north of 600 horsepower. The cars have body shells derived from their road-going variants. The minimum weight (excluding driver) of these cars is about 2987 lbs. (or just below 1355 kg). The two cars that race in today's V8 Supercar Series are the Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon- two of the best-selling cars in Australia. According to specifications I read on the 2009 Ford Falcon FG V8 Supercar, these cars can reach speeds of up to 182 mph (or about 294 kph).
Most races in this championship are primarily dual or triple race weekends. However, there are some weekends where there is one long race. These endurance events require teams to have a two-driver lineup to take on each event. So while the majority of races are multi-race events, there are also some endurance events. The double and triple race weekends make up one long distance event. So for example, the Clipsal 500 consists of two 250-kilometer races to make up the 500 kilometer distance for the race weekend. To my knowledge, the Trading Post Perth Challenge is the only three-race weekend on the V8 Supercar Series calendar. The biggest of which is (of course) the Bathurst 1000, which lasts more than 6 hours and 30 minutes. At least from the provisional calendar for 2012, the 2012 schedule features 29 events running from the beginning of March to the beginning of December.
A number of drivers have become champion in this series. Among the champions of the series include the likes of Jamie Whincup, Marcos Ambrose, Craig Lowndes, and Mark Skaife among others. Some of today's V8 Supercar racers include Shane Van Gisbergen (nicknamed "Cheeseburger"), Steven Richards, Garth Tander, and Lee Holdsworth among many others.
How did I get into the Australian V8 Supercar Series?It was 2000 or 2001 when I saw a show that aired on Speedvision (now Speed Channel) called "Motorsport Mundial." I had a chance to see some of the racing action on TV in this half-hour digest of motorsports from around the world. The first thing that stuck out at me was in hearing how beautiful these Australian V8 engines sound. It is such sweet engine music!
When I saw some of the first Australian V8 Supercars, the cars of choice were the Holden Commodore VX and the Ford Falcon AU. Today's V8 Supercars include the Holden Commodore VE and the Ford Falcon FG. There is a push to make cars of updated specification to make them safer and more efficient.
Tracks.The Australian V8 Supercar Series races both in Australia and in New Zealand. They even compete in a few events outside of Australia and New Zealand. Here are some of the many venues that the V8 Supercars race at:
• Mount Panorama Circuit (Bathurst) - a semi-permanent race track that is the ultimate battleground. It is an Australian roller coaster ride complete with many elevation changes and narrow roads. It is home to the Bathurst 1000- a race that lasts over 1000 kilometers and takes just over six and a half hours to complete. Racing is hard-fought from beginning to end as two-driver teams take on this intense challenge.
• Adelaide - former home of the F1 Australian Grand Prix, it is one of the most challenging temporary race tracks in the world.
• Albert Park (non-points) - the Australian V8 Supercar Series races around the current home of the Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park in Melbourne; but it is not a points race.
• Sandown - high speeds and technical corners make the somewhat simplistic Sandown a real challenge. It has been around since 1962.
• Phillip Island - this track plays host to the Australian Grand Prix in World Superbike and in MotoGP. A considerable distance from Melbourne, this track plays host to the Philip Island 500 endurance race in V8 Supercars.
• Barbagallo - Western Australia's racing challenge offers undulating corners and high speeds. This track is based around Perth (one of Houston's Sister Cities).
• Winton - high speeds and tricky corners make this course a tough and action-packed one.
• Hidden Valley - the northernmost track in Australia is based in the city of Darwin in the Australian state of Queensland. This track is known for its high-speeds in the event known as the Skycity Triple Crown.
• Hamilton - a temporary street course in New Zealand with many technical corners.
• Queensland - simplistic in layout but tough in racing, Queensland is often called a paper clip
• Symmons Plains - a short high-speed course dominated by a super-slow and action-packed hairpin.
• Townsville - Reid Park plays host to this lovely temporary course. The western half of the track crosses over Ross Creek several times.
• Surfers Paradise - it has long been a stop for Indy cars. These days, it mostly serves now as an intense street course for the V8 Supercars. The Gold Coast offers one of the most intense racing challenges in Australia. Think of it as the Long Beach of Australia.
• Homebush Park - this temporary street course is a romp around Sydney's Homebush Park. A number of fans miss seeing the V8 Supercars race around Eastern Creek as opposed to Homebush Park.
• Yas Marina Circuit - the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Formula 1 is the futuristic and ultra-modern Yas Marina Circuit. It plays host to the Desert 400 on a modified configuration.
Of all the tracks both past and present, I am most saddened that Oran Park is no longer with us. Oran Park used to be one of the finest racing facilities in Australia with its unique layout. Sadly, what used to be Oran Park is now housing development.
I sometimes wonder just how much motorsport means to Australia with a number of racing facilities no longer being raced on or rarely raced on. Take the United States, for example. One of the finest courses here used to be Riverside International Raceway in California. That track was mostly taken down to make way for a big shopping center. Riverside used to be great for racing ranging from NASCAR to even a Formula 1 Grand Prix at Riverside. I feel for you Australians who miss Oran Park. Oran Park is not the only former racing facility, though. A lot of other race tracks in Australia have either not been raced on in a while or are long gone. Among others- Surfers Paradise International Raceway, Adelaide International Raceway, Catalina Park, and Warwick Farm Raceway. Oran Park is just another track to sadly add to the list of long-gone great race tracks.
--- Australian V8 Supercar Series: Why Should You Care? ---If you care anything about hard-fought racing from start to finish, you should definitely care about the Australian V8 Supercar Series. The racers in this series bring it every day, every race. No shortage of action from flag to flag. I think an American fan who enjoys NASCAR can definitely appreciate the action in this series.
--- Australian V8 Supercars vs. DTM: Who Would Win? ---You know, I always wondered what would happen if DTM and the Australian V8 Supercar Series had an exhibition. Could a Holden beat a DTM Audi? Could a Ford outpace a DTM Mercedes-Benz? Part of me says that DTM would win since the DTM cars are very sophisticated and capable. But come on now- wouldn't you want to see these Australian V8 Supercars match up against Germany's premier motorsports series?
Part of me says that DTM would win if it was an Australian V8 Supercar vs. DTM exhibition. DTM cars are much more sophisticated and capable even if they give up about 150+ horsepower to Australian V8 Supercars.
--- What If: Australian V8 Supercars World Tour? ---The Australian V8 Supercar Series does race at a few locales outside of Australia and New Zealand during the course of the season. They may even be planned to race here in the United States at the Circuit of the Americas facility just outside of Austin, Texas, USA. What if they had a World Tour? Here are venues that I think would be great to see the series have more racing action in...
North and South America.• Infineon Raceway - love to see these cars weave left and right at this track.
• Laguna Seca - imagine Holden vs. Ford being decided at the Corkscrew!
• Road America - 4+ miles of road in Wisconsin meant to punish all who race it.
• Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - this track is challenging for novices and experts alike.
• Barber Motorsports Park - Australian race cars at a great track in the Deep South, anyone?
• Road Atlanta - long-standing race track with a competitive layout
• Virginia International Raceway - a take-no-prisoners, old school race track.
• Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve - Canada's premier racing facility that has hosted many Canadian Grands Prix.
• Circuit Mont-Tremblant - a tricky race track in a beautiful natural setting.
• Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - former F1 Mexican Grand Prix venue.
• Puebla - a competitive oval that also has a challenging road course configuration.
• Interlagos - the finest race track in Brazil combining high speeds with intense corners.
• Brasilia - Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet delivers intense racing on a twisty track.
• Buenos Aires - former home of the F1 Argentine Grand Prix, this technical track delivers amazing action.
Europe and Africa.• Donnington Park - would be a great challenge for the V8 supercars with its weaving roads.
• Valencia (Ricardo Tormo Circuit) - mostly flat, this track is a very tough and technical Spanish race course.
• Catalunya - the premier racing facility in Spain is one of the most challenging courses in the world.
• Magny-Cours - a great rhythm-based track in France, former F1 French Grand Prix.
• Dijon-Prenois - a tricky French track that's great for touring car racing.
• Zandvoort - a formidable Dutch venue not far from a beach.
• Zolder - a demanding and technical Belgian race track.
• Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps - the legendary Belgian battleground for racing.
• Kyalami - South Africa's formidable racing challenge. It is a challenging course for any machines that race here.
Asia.• Istanbul Park - a rhythm-based race track in Turkey that is home to the Turkish Grand Prix of F1.
• Buddh International Circuit - the new world-class Indian race track delivers high speed and intense thrills.
• Sepang - Malaysia's premier world-class racing track that's been around since about 1999.
• Sentul International Circuit - a challenging motor racing facility in Indonesia.
• Goldenport Park - a very popular Chinese race course based in China's capital of Beijing.
• Zhuhai - once considered as a possible F1 stop, it has since played host mostly to touring cars and GT racing.
• Suzuka - one of the world's most rewarding race tracks is in Japan's Mie Prefecture.
• Okayama - this Japanese circuit served as home of the former Pacific Grand Prix in F1.
• Autopolis - once considered a potential F1 Japanese Grand Prix venue, it remains a challenging Grand Prix course despite never hosting an F1 Grand Prix.
In addition to these tracks, I'd even be interested in seeing today's V8 Supercar Series race at Taupo Motorsports Park or even Teretonga International Raceway. Both of those courses are in New Zealand, by the way.
Again- I felt I should have posted about the Australian V8 Supercar Series long ago. I love and respect all of my fans and readers worldwide, and Australia is one of the most popular locales to visit "John's Blog Space." I hope this blog post has been to your liking. For more information on this series, I have included the following links for all of you:
• Australian V8 Supercar Series Home Page
• Australian V8 Supercar Series' Facebook Fan Page
• Follow the Australian V8 Supercar Series on Twitter (@V8Supercars)!
Cross-Promotion and Other Reading(ADDED: March 21, 2012)
Did you like this post? Here are some other posts of mine related to this topic:
• "Speed Channel's Coverage of the 2011 Bathurst 1000" - John's Blog Space
^ I explain my thoughts of Speed Channel's coverage of the Bathurst 1000- the first time aired live on American television.
• "What Would Be the Dream American Australian V8 Supercar Weekend?" - John's Blog Space
^ This was an old blog post on what a dream race weekend in the United States would be for the Australian V8 Supercar Series.
• "Australasian Representation in Gran Turismo" - John's Gran Turismo Space
^ Gran Turismo fans... we need to get you Australian and New Zealand folk represented! These are some thoughts of mine on better representation of Australia and New Zealand in Gran Turismo games.
These are all the blog posts I've done regarding certain race tracks in Australia and New Zealand:
• "Taupo Motorsport Park" - John's Blog Space
• "Bathurst (Mount Panorama Circuit)" - John's Blog Space
• "Phillip Island" - "John's Blog Space
• "Teretonga Park Raceway" - John's Blog Space
• "Adelaide Street Circuit" - John's Blog Space
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