F1 Chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is once again in the news regarding his financial affairs, with a British MP calling for a ‘Serious Fraud Office’ probe into the billionaire.
The call by Labour Party MP Emily Thornberry comes as the civil case against him for $100 million in damages concludes in London’s High Court in a few weeks’ time.
The results of such an investigation combined with the results from the courts may have the potential to loosen the tycoon’s almost four-decade-long grip on the sport.
The MP commented: “We cannot just walk away from this case. It does seem to me that we have a duty to investigate this. What is the Serious Fraud Office for if not for investigating cases like this?”
Ecclestone has been embroiled in a number of accusations across a variety of affairs over the past few months. This most recent case alleges he made corrupt payments to a German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, to undervalue F1’s commercial rights owned by the BayernLB group and allow him to maintain control even after it was sold to the private equity group, CVC Capital Partners.
CVC has stood by Mr Ecclestone through all of the court dramas, however its co-founder Donald MacKenzie did not rule out firing the Chief if he was found guilty.
Ecclestone denies this and says that in fact he was a victim of blackmail, alleging that Gribkowsky in fact threatened to report Ecclestone to the British tax authorities over false accusations of tax evasion. Although Gribkowsky called it a bribe and was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for the corruption, the F1 Chief continues to deny this version of events.
In July last year, German authorities made noises about having the billionaire on trial but have yet to decided if he will take the stand. Furthermore, Ecclestone faces damages claims from a firm in the US, Bayern LB, as well as proceedings in Switzerland.
Ecclestone has also indicated that he would step aside if convicted in Germany.
What do you think? Does it matter that the F1 Chief has doubts over his financial credibility and actions? Is this just part of the F1 world that we accept or just turn away from and pretend doesn’t exist?
More importantly, where does that leave F1 if Bernie is removed from his post?
You all know I deeply, deeply love motorsport. So when the opportunity to check out the newest Formula 1 cinematic masterpiece came along, I jumped at the chance! Check out my review of 'Rush', released earlier this month, with Josh Kruse (a fellow journo at Richard's F1)!
The intake heaves, urgently drawing every inch of air and oxygen into the cylinders.
The camera zooms in, past the smooth movements of the pistons, while your senses are overwhelmed by the roar of the intake.
The new Formula 1 film, Rush, is an adrenalin filled, cinematographic feast. It is a motion picture that should, and will be appreciated by fans of the sport, but you don’t have to love the world of Formula 1 to appreciate this particular piece.
Ron Howard’s Rush is set in the 1970s, two conflicting personalities progress through Formula 3 to Formula 1, where they would create one of the most extravagant and memorable seasons Formula 1 has seen. It’s a story that can literally tell itself.
Rush focuses on the infamous rivalry of Austrian and British drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt during the early 70’s. It is an era that as young Formula 1 fans, neither of us had heard and read much about, but was truly brought alive by actors Daniel Brühl (Lauda) and Chris Hemsworth (Hunt) on the big screen. The atmosphere of the 1970s racing world – no safety, loads of scantily clad women and drivers with actual (visible) personalities – was so convincing, we felt nostalgic for an time we had never even experienced.
Lauda is the man whose methodical and meticulous approach to his career earned him the success he yearned for in Formula One. Lauda is a perfectionist, involved in every aspect of the car and tunes his ride to faultlessness. Niki, unlike James, calculates and plays the odds consistently.
Hunt is the glamorous English playboy whose fearless bad-boy persona makes him irresistible to women. He, on the other hand, lives like he drives: emotionally with no holds barred and little regard for logical details like odds and risk. He is chaotic, charismatic and larger than life.
The events of the 1976 World Championship make for heart clenching watching: Lauda’s harrowing crash, his painful – truly painful – recovery and Hunt’s desperation for the title are all depicted brilliantly.
Neither driver is a hero or a villain, although the film makes you love and hate both in equal measure. These were two very different men with wildly different motives for racing who were eventually brought together by the sharing of a title and the development of a mutual respect.
The casting for Rush could not have been better. Hemsworth does a fantastic job of playing the party boy role, while Brühl’s spectacular depiction of Lauda is remarkably accurate down to the accent, earning high praise from Niki Lauda himself.
The excitement of engines roaring to life before they take on the graveyard, The Nürburgring, will send deep chills down the spines of F1 fans, as they know of the unfortunate events that occur. Although one step ahead of us, Howard makes the entire scene so tense you’ll be gripping the arm rest waiting for it to happen. Then it does, Lauda’s Ferrari suffers a mechanical fault and smashes into a barrier, the car erupting into a ball of flames as the fuel tank is punctured.
Cue Hans Zimmer.
A well-balanced mix of cinematography and musical composition make Lauda’s fiery crash entrancing to watch. You’re so absorbed by the emotional scene that’s supplemented by a dramatic orchestra it becomes easier to picture the real event.
It’s not just this scene where Zimmer’s musical talent presents itself; all throughout the film the music that accompanies it is outstanding. Not since the amazing compositions from Antonio Pinto’s work in Senna have we rushed home (pardon the pun) and bought the soundtrack.
There are times where Hollywood steps in and depicts Lauda as the villain and Hunt as the hero, but you must remember that this is a movie, not a documentary.
Of course there will be those who lived through the era who remember the events of the day, and the relationship between the two drivers quite differently. That is not the point of Rush.
What you do have is a film that brings to life the beauty of the sport, the excitement of the race and the tension of the personal drama. It gives an inkling as to why people like us crave the race weekends, why the screams of a V8, V10 or V12 make our hearts beat a flurry. It is a film about the exquisiteness of the sport that we all love, and for that Ron Howard and all his team should be duly thanked.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award RUSH (out of a possible five)…
RUSH is currently in national release in Australian cinemas. Check your local cinema for listing and session times.
Postscript: It is sad that on writing this piece, the news that Sean Edwards, a Porsche professional driver involved in the making of Rush was killed at Yassmin’s home racetrack, Queensland Raceway. Our thoughts are with his family, and it is a sombre reminder that even though we think the dangerous days of motorsport have past, it is still a sport that occasionally draws blood in the worst way possible. RIP Sean.
It was a day dominated by the youngsters, with the Kiwi teenager Scott McLaughlin taking out the first race of the Sunday, and 21-year-old Chaz Mostert winning the second race at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360.
The comfortable wins by these two rookies is definitely a sign of things to come and shows us all that the series is in good hands!
The first race of the morning started with Championship leader Jamie Whincup and Fujitsu Racing GRM’s Scott McLaughlin on the front row. A good start from McLaughlin saw him taking the lead, with Mostert in second briefly before being overtaken again by Whincup.
The Queensland Raceway track has been dominated by the Red Bull Racing’s Holden team for the last few years, but it is usually the veteran Craig Lowndes at the top of the podium. This wasn’t his Saturday, though, as the Saturday 60/60 SuperSprint race win was taken decisively by his teammate Jamie Whincup.
For the first time in four years, 30-year-old Whincup converted pole position at Queensland Raceway into a win, stretching his championship lead to 131 points from Lowndes who came in fourth. Behind Whincup was rising star rookie Scott McLaughlin in the Fujitsu GRM Commodore and Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom came in third.
I've always considered myself a rebel of sorts, even though all my friends at the Christian ecumenical high school I went to didn't see it that way.
I wasn't allowed out at night or on the weekends to ‘hang out’ at the shopping center; I had chosen to cover my hair and my body up as part of my religious beliefs; all my social events were with my family or community.
That didn’t matter to me though. I rebelled in my own ways… and one of those rebellions has turned into a full blown, life passion.
The story starts innocently enough; it was a cool Friday night and my mother, brother and I were settling in for another VHS movie night.
As was our tradition, we headed on over to the local video store and proceeded to each pick a movie. My brother always picked the strange titles; I remember him thinking Shaolin Soccer looked cool. The night we watched that movie our stomachs hurt from distraught laughter.
Back to the Friday night in question...
It was an evening like any other, unremarkable to the point where I don't remember any details. Suffice to say, however, one of us picked a movie that essentially changed my life.
It was called Catch that Kid. I look at the cover now and cringe, but at the time I just thought the two boys looked cute - and one had an afro like me! I was sold.
The plot of the movie is irrelevant. It was a good movie, with nothing of note to remember...until right at the end, one of the characters heads out to his family's go-kart track and speeds around the circuit.
"That looks so cooool!" I remember thinking. "I want to do THAT!"
I then proceeded to beg my mum to let me on the internet (dial up, as it was), and began researching everything I could about go-karting. When my parents refused to fork out the hundreds and thousands of dollars I was asking for to hit it up myself, I then started researching cars.
Somehow, between that kid's go-kart and the pages of the How Cars are Made books I borrowed from the local library, I fell in love with cars.
My first love was the McLaren F1. The fastest production car of the time; I couldn't get enough of it. I would borrow shelves worth of books from the library, from service manuals to the history of Ferrari, drinking up the shapes, the designs, the speed, the beauty of the power...
I think my parents thought it was a strange phase I would get over, until I started taking design and technology classes at school. They would later be pleasantly surprised when I went on to top the subjects of both graphic design and design and technology in grade 12 (I was the only girl in my design and tech class!).
They must have realised something was up when all I would watch on the television was the Formula 1 and the V8s. They definitely came to accept it when I chose mechanical engineering as my major, because I wanted to design cars for a living. I did initially want to be the first, female, Muslim Formula 1 driver but it didn't quite work out that way! ;)
If there is one thing I have learnt from the experience though, it's that inspiration can come from anywhere. If we hadn't decided to stay in that night and watch movies, I might neverhave discovered my love for motorsport. It makes life exciting in a way, to know that inspiration can hit at any time. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut and take life for a drive!
Sometimes a public figure will say something that makes you want to check your hearing just in case you didn’t hear it right the first time.
“I think women have the [physical] strength,” former Grand Prix winner Sir Stirling Moss said to BBC Radio 5 Live, of female F1 drivers.
“…but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.”
He goes on: “The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. We’ve got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you’re trying to win. I just don’t think they have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race.”
Well, well, well…
To be honest, my first reaction was a very diva-like “Oh no, he didn’t!”, with the side-to-side head movement to boot!
On further thought, however, there unfortunately is a little more to it than just that, as it has clearly started a conversation on the prospects of women competing alongside men on the F1 grid.
Firstly, we have to remember what era Moss hails from. The 1950s and ’60s, during which he raced and probably formed his opinions on such matters, weren’t exactly the most egalitarian.
When you put it in context, given the fact that women were only really allowed to vote only thirty or so years before, that attitude (unfortunately) makes a little more sense.
At that time, women weren’t even allowed to run in the Boston Marathon! The first lady to do so only officially competed in 1967. Check out the video of what happened when she ran:
Fast forward a few decades, and the first female fighter pilot in the US Airforce was only accepted in 1993. Two decades ago only…?!
There have always traditionally been ‘male domains’ and ‘women’s domains’, and it is only really in the last few decades is that starting to change. It’s slow going though…and traditionally technical areas, like my field of engineering, still have less than 10% (9.6% in Australia!) female representation.
It is true though that Formula 1, and motorsport in general is one of the few sports where men and women compete head to head and not in separate series. That in itself, is a strange type of egalitarianism, but that isn’t enough.
There is no question of whether women can be Formula 1 drivers – they have already proven they can. The first woman competed in the 1958 Monaco GP, Maria Teresa De Filippis, in Moss’ era (has he forgotten being snapped with her, pictured above?):
While she never achieved a points finish in F1, Maria Teresa de Filippis’ very presence on the grid in 1958 was a victory for women’s participation in motorsport.
The last woman to compete was Giovanna Amati, in 1992, although she failed to qualify on each of her three outings in a Brabham.
Sure, females only have half a point combined between all five of them, but that is beside the point. Clearly, women do have the capacity to compete in the sport, whether Moss likes it or not.
Outside F1, there are a heap of awesome women who race and they are all inspiring.
Danica Patrick in undoubtedly the most high-profile. She became the only woman (to-date) to win an IndyCar Series race in 2008 before making a full-time switch to NASCAR racing last year.
Finally given a competitive engine and team in which to race, Simona de Silvestro has proven herself to be a frontrunner in the IndyCar Series.
Take the case of Venezuelan Milka Duno, the former IndyCar racer who has shown excellent pace in the Daytona endurance scene. She’s more than just a racer, however. Duno is a qualified naval engineer with four master’s degrees and has published a book for young children on the impact of an education.
That’s what I’m talking about.
F1’s Famous 5 Females (L-R): De Filippis, Lombardi, Galica, Wilson and Amati
But the true issue underpinning Moss’ comments is that this highlights the strongly held belief one of the most respected men in Formula 1, and ‘kind-of, sort-of’ backed by Bernie Ecclestone himself, who said he could not see a woman racing for a top team in the near future.
“There’s no reason why a woman shouldn’t be able to compete with a man,” he said recently, when asked about women’s roles in F1 in the wake of Danica Patrick claiming a historic pole position in the season-opening NASCAR race.
“Unfortunately, the way things are, I don’t imagine a lady will ever get the chance to drive a Red Bull or a Ferrari.”
If the top men in the sport (a sport where support is paramount to success) can’t even fathom women competing on the same level, how is it ever going to happen?
“Regretfully, the problem is that many ladies who could compete probably as well as the guys won’t get chance.” Ecclestone added.
Why won’t they get the chance? Is it because the movers and shakers won’t give them a chance?
The problem with comments like this is that they back up sexist views that do nothing to help women that do want to get involved in motorsport and are interested in racing, engineering and all manner of technical things.
If the guys at the very top aren’t even giving the idea a chance, no matter how archaic or old school they are, people subconsciously take it in. It isn’t about affirmative action or making allowances, it is about being open to the idea.
Is it fear of change? Possibly.
Is change going to happen anyway? Probably.
There was once a time when men didn’t think women could run, and that it was bad for their health.
There was also once a time when men didn’t think women could compete in Formula 1…and win.
I can’t wait until the day we can joke about the ludicrousness of such a statement!
I wrote this piece for Richard's F1, and you can find the original piece here! It's a fabulous site for keeping up to date with the latest in motorsport and I am honoured to be part of the team.
The late and much loved Kiwi driver Jason Richards will be honoured this weekend at the V8 Supercar’s ITM 400 Auckland with a trophy in his name.
The James Richards Memorial Trophy, designed by the artist Frank Watson, has been commissioned by the V8 Supercars Championship and will be presented at the newly upgraded South Auckland circuit at this weekend’s third round of the 2013 championship season.
The one-off award and trophy will be presented to the driver with the most combined points over the four races of the Pukekohe weekend.
"We believe this is an appropriate way for us to recognise Jason’s contribution to our sport and our championship. He was a fierce competitor but at the same time was a true gentleman and a fan favourite," said V8 Supercars chief executive David Malone.
Richards was only 35 when he lost his battle with cancer in December 2011 and was mourned by thousands after his passing.
The popular driver and proud New Zealander had joined the Brad Jones Racing team in 2009, and was seen as one of the up and coming stars of the series, going on to do even bigger and better things.
He also drove for a variety of outfits before BJR, including Team Kiwi Racing, Team Dynamik and Tasman Motorsport. Richards raced in the V8s for eleven seasons and was a three-time podium winner at the Bathurst 1000.
Richards’ widow, Charlotte and his two children will present the trophy with their blessings.
"While Jason raced mostly in Australia, there was no more proud New Zealander," Mrs Richards said.
"To have the trophy named in his honour and to have it presented for the first time in the 50th anniversary of his favourite New Zealand race track is special.
"I hope this trophy not only recognises what he achieved in the sport and how he went about it but also inspires other young Kiwis that with big dreams and hard work, you can achieve anything."
On his passing, V8 SuperCars boss of the time Tony Cochrane also paid very high respects to the driver.
"Jason Richards was, and will always be remembered, as a highly respected race car driver and champion on and off the race track. Jason will be remembered for his great grin and his love and loyalty to his family. Both of which made him an immensely admired figure in pit lane," Cochrane said in a statement.
It is fantastic to see Jason commemorated in this way, and the team at RichardsF1.comagain, pays their respects.
So it was a good weekend for the V8s and particularly Brad Jones Racing's Fabian Coulthard who won two out of the weekend's three races!
I've written wrap ups of race two and three on the trusty Richard's F1 site: you can find the link to race review two here (Bright's Drought Over), but here is what I wrote for the final...
Kiwi driver Fabian Coulthard sealed the deal at the Symmons Plains track yesterday taking advantage of a late safety car appearance, chalking up his second V8 win at the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 in race three for the weekend.
The Lockwood Racing Holden driver also won the 60/60 Super Sprint race on Saturday and, coming off fine form over the Albert Park weekend, converted the speed into Championship points.
Coulthard pipped Ford driver Mark Winterbottom three laps from the finish followed by James Courtney in the HRT Holden. The Drivers’ Championship lead is still in Jamie Whincup’s hands however, who came in fifth under the rear wing of Jason Bright in the BJR Holden. Will Davison, Jonathon Webb, Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander rounded out the top ten places.
Coulthard was naturally pretty stoked to claim his first two official wins this weekend.
“We got three fake ones at the Australian Grand Prix and it’s great to get one under the belt,” the New Zealander said. “We came in confident after the performance at the Grand Prix. You can’t ask for much more and the team did such a great job today.”
It was a well fought race, with lots of action for viewers. It almost ended tragically in fact, with the young Scott Pye crashing head-on into the wall in the final stages of the race.
It has been reported an issue with the brakes (i.e. they failed!), but fortunately Pye is fine and amazingly walked away with only sore joints. The Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport rookie said there was no warning before the brakes went.
“I’d been pumping (the brake pedal)… but I pumped it and it went to the floor, so there was nothing I could do… My eyes were dragged to that Armco wall and I knew I was going in.
“I saw the Armco wall took some of that impact and got pushed back. It’s a freak accident; it’s one of those things,” he lamented.
Pye will be out of contention for the Auckland race this weekend, but the team are hopeful they will be back for Perth.
“A big hit like that puts such a shockwave of force through the chassis that I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s stuff that’s damaged at the back of it,” team owner Lucas said afterwards.
“Until we have it back to an absolute shell we’re not going to know the extent of the damage.
“New Zealand is definitely out of the question but touch wood we’ll have it back for Perth.”
Subsequently, the race was temporarily halted behind the safety car and restarted with only a few laps to go. It was the race’s second restart after the full course yellows were brought out earlier in the race to clear the rear diffuser of Tim Slade’s Mercedes on the track.
Various cars took damage throughout the race that they will have to carry over or repair in the next few days before they head off across the seas to the New Zealand meet. Todd Kelly battled issues throughout the race and stopped quite early on Lap 20 with another engine failure in his Nissan Altima.
Lowndes, who was hoping to break the record for all-time wins, didn’t have a spectacular weekend and finished in eleventh place.
Jonny Reid from Wilson Security Dick John Racing, praised the format of the race nonetheless.
“The race format was really good and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it. The racing was absolutely crazy in the early laps of both legs with cars running door to door and some big dust clouds where cars were spearing off.”
We wish all the drivers and their teams the best of luck in getting their gear across for the next meet in only a few days! Stay tuned for more V8 news from RichardsF1.com!
It's that time of year again, V8's season! I've been writing for the awesome website, Richard's F1, and here is re-post one of the most recent articles - a preview of this weekend's Championship round, the Tasmania 365.
Not too far from the picturesque town of Launceston, Tasmania lies the scene of the next V8 Supercar series showdown, the Symmons Plains Raceway. The short racetrack will be hosting Race 3, 4 and 5 of the Championship, the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365.
This weekend will be the first time the series will host the new 60/60 Super Sprint race format, which is designed for more exciting racing – perhaps V8′s version of 20/20 cricket.
It could also prove to be a historic race for Craig Lowndes, who if he wins, will break Mark Skaife’s all time record of 91 race wins. Skaife has in fact asked permission from Channel 7 to leave the commentary box early and be the first to congratulate the driver if he does manage the feat.
Let’s hope for a big weekend of exciting racing then! Don’t know what to expect? Continue reading below…
2013 TASMANIA MICROSOFT OFFICE 365
5-7 April 2013
Symmons Plains Raceway, near Launceston, Tasmania
Race Lap Record:
51.4713s, Rick Kelly (Holden Commodore VE) – 2009
Free Practice Session 1 (lower 50% in points table)
Free Practice Session 2 (all drivers)
Free Practice Session 3 (all drivers)
Free Practice Session 4 (all drivers)
Race 1 Qualifying
Race 1 Heat 1 (25 laps, 60km)
Race 1 Heat 2 (25 laps, 60km)
Race 2 Qualifying
Race 2 Qualifying Top-10 Shootout
Race 2 (42 laps, 100km)
Race 3 (42 laps, 100km)
Will Davison (Ford Falcon FG)
2012 (Race 1)
Jamie Whincup (Holden Commodore VE)
2012 (Race 2)
The Symmons Plains circuit is a short and narrow strip at 2.41km, on which drivers will be clocking an average speed of 167km/h. The top speed is usually around the 270km/h mark, however the fast track is quite hard on brakes and we will see a lot of middle pedal action over the weekend.
The best overtaking spots are the notoriously slow and tight hairpin at turn four, known as Brambles hairpin, as well as the left turn at the end of the back straight. As one of the slowest turns (if not the slowest), it is proving a concern for a few of the series newcomers, including Nissan, as explained below.
Rewinding to 2012
The 2012 event was run in a two-race format, and the Ford Performance Racing duo of Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom claimed a team 1-2 after a late-race scrap for the lead in Saturday’s 59-lap race.
Polesitter Winterbottom had been shuffled down to third place in the opening laps, and used the compulsory pit stop to leapfrog ahead of second-placed Jamie Whincup in the TeamVodafone Holden.
Winterbottom then set about chasing down his teammate, who started to lose pace as a right-leg cramp set in, but he was ultimately unable to find a way past. The pair crossed the finish line 0.6 seconds apart, while Whincup fended off a late-race challenge from Shane van Gisbergen in the Stone Brothers Ford.
Teammate and polesitter Craig Lowndes led the early proceedings before the first round of pit stops, but he suffered a rare blunder shortly after, tagging new leader Davison at the hairpin and breaking his front-left suspension.
Davison struggled with the handling of his car thereafter, and surrendered the lead to Winterbottom and Whincup, who head recovered from his earlier spin and was now chasing down the Ford.
A new racing format
The new and exciting Super Sprint format, debuting at Tasmania the Saturday, consists of two separate 60km halves, with a 15 min half time break. Sunday’s schedule includes two 100km races (all with no refuelling).
With the Super Sprint format, the grid position during the first half will be decided by qualifying, while the position on the second half depends on the car’s position at half time.
The second half of the race will also see a side by side rolling start, and points and podium results will be awarded after this race.
With the short length of this track and the high risk of small mistakes sending drivers to the middle or back of the pack, this format will definitely spice things up and hopefully provide some interesting racing and results.
The format has been a talking point among the drivers for some time now.
“I’m not sure how the double file re-starts will go, especially at Symmons Plains where the front straight is like one big corner and not a whole lot of room to manoeuvre into Turn 1 and 2. That could provide some action, but hopefully we’re in front of that,” James Moffat, driver for Team Norton Nissan said.
“The format is going to be interesting,” added Ford Performance Racing driver Mark Winterbottom.
“The fact we stop mid-race on Saturday and then do the rolling re-start poses a lot of unknowns. It will be trial and error for everyone and there has been a lot of talk around the new 60/60 Super Sprint so until we do it we can’t really judge how it changes the racing.”
Facts, Stats & Predictions
It must be said that Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, given their form in the previous two races and their history on this track are sure favourites to take out this weekend’s podium. Given the track though and the new style of racing on Saturday however, anything is possible.
The Symmons Plain’s meet should also provide an opportunity for a few of the manufacturers to either consolidate or improve their position. Ford Performance Racing for example, need to better their performance of the season so far, with Will Davison frustrated at his team for only having one place in the top 14 in the table. The Nissan Altimas, having done well in the first two races, are concerned about the effect of the Symmond Plains hairpin (the slowest corner on the calendar) on their capacity to race well.
“The thing that is probably worrying me the most is the hairpin at Symmons Plains,” confirmed Nissan Motorsport team co-owner, technical director and driver Todd Kelly.
V8 Supercars reports that Kelly even suggested the perfect lap in qualifying would struggle to net a top 10 time for the new Altimas because the Nissan VK56DE V8 engine is lacking the meaty torque curve of its Ford and Chev push-rod rivals.
The horsepower deficit in general is likely to hurt both newcomers, with the track consisting of a number of long straights and requiring all and any extra power. The underpowered Nissan and Erebus AMGs are likely to take some pain…
Another issue of note includes the possibility of carnage with the second half of the Super Sprint’s rolling start. This is even more of an issue this week with the back to back races across the seas as explained in our previous story. If a car is too damaged over this weekend, it might be more than just one race the team will have to forgo…
In all, it looks set to be an action-packed and intriguing weekend in Tasmania – make sure you keep visiting RichardsF1.com for all of the latest news and analysis from Tasmania!
I wrote this post originally for Richard's F1 - check it out here!
Exciting times for the V8 Supercars! Following the unveiling of the Austin 400’s race format of Ultimate Sprints on Wednesday, there is now talk of Chevrolet joining the fray as an unofficial manufacturer over the May event!
A spokesperson for Holden Motorsport said that: “A firm decision on its marketing plans with Chevrolet for Texas is yet to be made and that nothing is currently being ruled out.”
The Chevrolet link can be made a number of ways and has been done before by the parent company, General Motors. It is particularly timely as well, considering that the Holden VF commodore will soon be available in the United States, under the Chevrolet SS badge.
Previous cases of rebadging include Todd Kelly’s Commodore VE in Bahrain as the Chevrolet Lumina, and Rick Kelly’s rebadging as a Buick a couple of years earlier in 2005 when the series made its brief foray to China.
Rebadging makes business sense, as the cars are then marketed as exports in that nation. This is likely part of the campaign to introduce Holden to the States, after the rebadged Aussie sedan debuted in at the NASCAR Daytona Speedway earlier this year. Shipments of the Commodore to the US are penned to begin in November.
The Car Of The Future Holden Commodore has already been sent to the southern states of America to market the race, and is already dressed up in Chevy bodywork.
The 28 cars will compete over a weekend in four races of 100km each, two on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The reported crowd estimate is 87,000; however with no major local star looking likely to compete, as well as the NASCAR All-Star weekend and the Indianapolis 500 qualifying action all over the same few days, it might be a tougher sell than expected.
For comparison, last year’s debut Formula 1 race drew crowds of 265,000 over the three days – meaning around 88,000 a day. However a recent two day Grand-Am meet just garnered 27,000. The V8s will likely fall somewhere in between.
Interestingly for the Australians, this might be a way past the 2016 manufacturing deadline. Mark Reuss, head of GM in North America, has indicated Holden could keep building the new VF Commodore beyond 2016 if US demand takes off.
“That’s a champagne problem to have. I’m sure the guys at Holden can find a way to keep building it if they had to. General Motors and the guys at Holden can be very resourceful,” he said
Commodore fans will be hoping the Americans love their V8 beast more than ever!