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V8 Supercars is a touring car racing category. It is the most popular motorsport in Australia,Template:Fact has a considerable following in New Zealand, and is steadily growing in popularity across the world, where television coverage allows. The series is generally regarded as a commercial success, with full grids and large crowds at events.Template:Fact

V8 Supercar Events are held in all states of Australia, as well as rounds in New Zealand and Bahrain. V8 Supercars have drawn crowds of over 250,000 spectators.[1] The 2007 Season was held over 14 race weekends, held on various purpose-built racetracks and street circuits in the aforementioned countries. Race formats range from sprint races, where three 150 km races are held over a weekend, or endurance races such as Bathurst, which is run over a 1000 km race distance, and Phillip Island, run over 500km.

The V8 Supercars themselves are loosely based on either the Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore, and bear some resemblance to the production models outwardly, but are highly modified to suit the motorsport application, and are strictly governed in all aspects of performance in an effort to keep all the drivers on an even footing to create closer, more exciting racing. Because of this, entire fields of 30+ drivers are separated by just one second over qualifying laps at some events.

Historically, the Falcon and Commodore are the two most popular passenger cars on the Australian market. Rivalry between the two makes is a major aspect of the sport's appeal.

HistoryEdit

In January 1993 CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) replaced the existing Group 3A Touring Car category (which had been based on FIA Group A rules) with a new two class Group 3A. This encompassed both 5.0 litre Touring Cars (essentially Australian Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore V8 models) and 2.0 litre FIA Class II Touring Cars. These cars would contest the Australian Touring Car Championship as well as non championship Touring Car events such as the Bathurst 1000. The existing BMW M3s were also permitted to compete against the Ford and Holden V8s in the 5.0 litre class, unlike the turbocharged Ford Sierra and Nissan Skyline GT-R models which were now banned from Australian Touring Car racing. However the M3 received few of the liberal concessions given to the new V8s, and the German manufacturer’s attention switched to the 2.0 litre class for 1994.

From 1995 the 2.0 litre cars, now contesting their own series as Super Touring Cars, were no longer eligible for the Australian Touring Car Championship and did not contest the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst, leaving these open solely to the 5.0 litre Ford & Holden models.

The category acquired the moniker 'V8 Supercars' in 1997 when event management company IMG was given the rights to the series in 1997 after a bitter battle against CAMS and the ARDC, and led the championship on a rapid expansion. Network Ten began televising the series in the same year, taking over from Channel Seven. The Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company (AVESCO) was later formed to run the series directly and later became an independent organisation from its IMG origins. In 2005 the name was changed to V8 Supercars Australia.[2][3]

V8 Supercars Australia introduced carnival street-race V8 Supercar events such as the Clipsal 500, and strived to turn Australian touring car racing into a world-class product. The name "V8 Supercar" was invented, and "Shell Australian Touring Car Championship" was replaced by "Shell Championship Series", now called the "V8 Supercar Championship Series"

In Group 3A and V8 Supercar from 1993–2007, Holden has won nine drivers' championships, and Ford has won six.

The V8 SupercarEdit

The regulations are designed to balance the desire for technical competition and fast vehicles with the requirement that costs are kept reasonable. Racing is close, and the cars bear some resemblance to production models. The recent application of "Project Blueprint" - introduced at the beginning of the 2003 season (where both makes of car were examined to ensure parity) the racing between Holden and Ford has become closer than ever (reducing the risk of a one make dominated series).

BodyshellEdit

Unlike other forms of motorsport (such as NASCAR) where the cars are built from space frame construction, V8 Supercars are still based on production road cars. Each V8 Supercar is based on a current-specification VE Commodore or BF Falcon production bodyshell, with an elaborate roll cage constructed into the shell from aircraft-grade, 2mm thick tubing. In 2007 specifications both the Commodore and Falcon have adopted E-glass front mudguards in place of the production steel items, in order to save costs.

The VE Commodore was initially rejected from taking part in the series due to its wheelbase being longer and wider than the BF Falcon. V8 Supercar granted the Commodore a custom fabricated bodyshell into which a limited number of production bodyshell panels are incorporated. As a result, the roofline is lower than production and the rear door is shorter such that externally the rear doors, roof and rear quarters all consist of specialised custom coachwork panels.

The FG Falcon, released onto the market in April 2008, is expected to replace the BF in the latter half of the 2008 season.

AerodynamicsEdit

A standard "aerodynamic package" of spoilers and wings, a front splitter/air dam and side skirts are supplied to the teams of each make. Testing is conducted so that in principle the two makes have similar aerodynamics. However the test is only conducted at one particular speed and with the cars set to the lowest downforce configuration, leaving room for controversy.

WeightEdit

The minimum category weight is 1,355 kg (not including driver) with 80 kg (176 lb) driver allocation.

PowerEdit

A V8 supercar has to be front-engined and rear-wheel drive. Every car is powered by either a 5.0 L Ford "Windsor" SVO or Chevrolet Aurora race engine (depending on the make) which is capable of producing between 460 and 485 kW (620 — 650 bhp) of power, but generally quoted as a little over 450 kW (600 bhp) in race trim. Engines have pushrod actuated valves and electronic fuel injection. Both Ford and Holden engines are based on racing engines from their respective US parent companies. Engines are electronically restricted to 7,500 rpm.

Some common componentsEdit

Differentials, brake packages and gearboxes are identical in all cars in the category. The category uses a 6-speed Hollinger gearbox (Australian made), in either the 'H' pattern or as of 2008, a sequential pattern. Differential ratios used throughout the season are 3.75:1, 3.5:1, 3.25:1 and 3.15:1. The 3.15:1 ratio differential was introduced in 2005 to be used at Bathurst - cars with this ratio can now exceed 300 km/h on Conrod straight (hypothetically, this has yet to be proven, although Perkins Engineering, claims to have exceeded this speed multiple times in the 2005 event). The theoretical maximum speed is 306 km/h at 7,500 rpm. All cars have a 120 litre fuel tank.

SuspensionEdit

Basic front suspension configuration is double wishbone (made compulsory for both makes through Project Blueprint), whilst rear suspension is a "live axle" design, using 4 longitudinal links and Watt's linkage for lateral location. Both suspension systems are similar to those fitted to the EL Falcon.

TyresEdit

A Dunlop "control tyre" is supplied to all teams. Throughout the year, there are restrictions on the number of testing days (6 per year), along with the number of tyres used during those days. For race meetings, teams are allocated a set number of tyres for the entire weekend, with the number available for each race depending on the type (sprint or endurance).

CostEdit

Reported to be approximately $AU 600,000 per car and $AU 130,000 per engine. Teams spend up to $AU 10 million per year running their two-car teams. TEGA introduced a salary cap of $AU 6.75 million in order to keep costs down in 2007, called the Total Racing Expenditure Cap (TREC). It was scrapped after only one season.

ChampionshipsEdit

Template:Mainarticle Template:Mainarticle Three separate V8 Supercar series are held. The primary series is the main "Level One" championship called the 'V8 Supercar Championship Series'. A "Level Two" championship, referred to in 2007 as the Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series, is intended for privateers who formerly raced in the Level One series but have been left behind by increasing pace of the professional team, however, many "Level One" teams run secondary teams in the Fujitsu series to "blood" new drivers. The only way to compete in the "main game" is to purchase a licence from an existing team (TEGA are no longer involved in creating new licences for V8 teams).

A third series for older V8 Supercars, the Shannons V8 Touring Car National Series, was held for the first time in 2008.

Formats Edit

Template:Mergefrom There are a number of different formats that race rounds can follow. One, two and three race rounds are held, with track time, race kilometres and tyre allocations varying. The Adelaide 500 is a two-race round of two 250km races, while sprint rounds consist of three 120km races (though they are often identified as 400km events). The 'enduros' - the Bathurst 1000 and Phillip Island 500 - are the only single-race rounds.

Marquee eventsEdit

The Bathurst 1000, Clipsal 500 and Phillip Island 500 are the marquee events of the V8 Supercar calendar. In 2005 there was also a marquee round in Shanghai, however the promoter discontinued with this race in 2006.

Bathurst 1000Edit

Template:Mainarticle Known as the "Great Race", the Bathurst 1000 is a traditional 1000 km test of drivers, teams and machines held at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales. It has been the pre-eminent domestic motor racing event in Australia for decades - well before the development of the V8 Supercar category. It is conducted over 161 laps, on a track that features two long straights, that contrast with a tight section of fast blind corners across the top of the mountain.

In the early years, the race was open to almost anybody with a car that met (considerably more relaxed) regulations and held an Australian motorsport licence. The resulting wide variety of cars, driver talent, and budgets ensured that large margins split the placings. In the modern V8 era, the field has consisted of professional teams only.

File:V8 Safety Car.jpg

With the introduction of the safety car bringing the field together - when an accident makes the track unsafe - has radically changed the nature of the race. But Bathurst has always been an intensely tactical race, hinging on pit stop strategy (fuel economy, tyres, etc) driver talent and outright overall speed.

The 2006 Bathurst 1000 became a very emotional event to all drivers, teams, friends and fans of one of it's greatest drivers in its history, 9 time winner of the "Great Race", Peter Brock (killed in the Targa West rally event the month before).

The inaugural and perpetual Peter Brock Trophy was handed out to eventual race winner Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup. An emotional Lowndes, who was a protégé of Peter Brock, dedicated his win to his mentor.

Clipsal 500Edit

Template:Mainarticle The Clipsal 500 is held in Adelaide on a shortened version of the former Grand Prix Circuit. The event in the heart of the city has a carnival atmosphere, and crowds of over 200,000 racing fans and socialites turn out each year. Two 250 km races are held on each of Saturday and Sunday, and this has proven to be a very successful format. It is the first event to be inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame and is a winner of various awards. While the trophy presentation is centred around the results of race two, the round winner is decided by points accrued from both races.

Phillip Island 500Edit

Template:Mainarticle The 500 kilometre (312.5 mile) Phillip Island 500 endurance race is held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria. The race is sponsored by Lawrence & Hanson and is known as the L&H 500.[4]

The race takes over from the Sandown 500 after the Sandown round was downgraded to a sprint round in 2008 because of the condition of the facility.[5][6]

Grand FinaleEdit

Template:Mainarticle With the change to the 'Blueprint' formula in 2003, AVESCO created a special season ending round. Initially this round was held as the thirteenth championship event in late November at Eastern Creek Raceway near Sydney. It was sponsored by VIP Petfoods and was branded 'The Main Event'. The round was won by Marcos Ambrose in a fitting conclusion to his 2003 championship win, but made headlines when Ambrose's teammate Russell Ingall and Holden Racing Team rival Mark Skaife spectacularly brought the sport into disrepute with an on-track/off-track stoush. In 2004 the event became known as the 'Bigpond Grand Finale', and was again held at Eastern Creek - won again by Marcos Ambrose. In 2005 the venue moved to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as the final round of the championship and the base for Russell Ingall's series win. In 2006, the event will be known as the 'Caterpillar Grand Finale'. Todd Kelly won the 2006 final round in controversial circumstances, with two race wins (race one and two) and a fifth placing (race three). His brother, Rick Kelly, won the championship after he was given a drive through penalty for a collision with title contender, Craig Lowndes. The collision caused Lowndes major steering damage that required Kelly only to finish the race to win the championship. However the championship was not decided until the day after in an appeal in Melbourne in which Lowndes lost. For 2008 Oran Park Raceway will host the Grand Finale in its final ATCC/V8 Supercar round before the circuits expected closure in 2009.

Bahrain RoundEdit

Template:Mainarticle In 2005 a contract was confirmed to hold V8 Supercar races at the Bahrain International Circuit in the Bahrain venue at Sakhir from 2006 onwards, on a shortened version of the F1 Grand Prix circuit. Ford Performance Racing driver Jason Bright was crowned King of the Desert in 2006, winning the inaugural 'Desert 400' ahead of Holden drivers Todd Kelly and Garth Tander. The round continues as a key element in the series post-Bathurst rush of events to the championship finale.


Administration Edit

V8 Supercars AustraliaEdit

Template:Mainarticle V8 Supercars is managed, marketed, and promoted by V8 Supercars Australia. It is a joint venture between Touring Car Entrants Group of Australia (TEGA - 75%) and Sports & Entertainment Limited (SEL - 25%).[7] It is run by an eight member board. Four representing TEGA, two representing SEL, and two independent directors.[8][9] TEGA is responsible for the rules and technical management of the series and the supply of cars and drivers while SEL is responsible for capturing and maintaining broadcasting rights, sponsorship, licensing and sanction agreements.[7]

TEGAEdit

The Touring Car Entrants Group Australia (TEGA) is owned by all of the teams. It has a board of 4 representatives and drafts the regulations.

To the disappointment of a majority of fans who had watched a long history of Ford-Holden battles in Australian touring car categories since the 1960s, international touring car regulations (which moved from Group A to Supertouring) seemed destined to preclude the Australian-built Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon in the early 90s. However, V8 only regulations were drafted, in partnership with Ford and Holden, to avoid this and to showcase their large Australian made cars.

Nissan, who had dominated in the early 1990s, had their Turbo All Wheel Drive Skyline GT-R controversially excluded from the series, whilst BMW (with their non-turbo M3s) were allowed to continue for a brief period. Nissan vowed never to return to touring car racing in Australia again, and a short time later ceased Australian production.

Eventually the works BMW team left to head a separate new Australian Super Touring Championship (ASTC), and in the mid-1990s this Super Touring series ran in opposition to the V8 category. Super Touring with its many makes had the backing of the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) and sensationally two Bathurst 1000s were held each year in 1997 and 1998, one for V8s and the other (backed by traditional custodian ARDC) for Super Touring. Ultimately, the bulk of sponsorship, driver talent, and fan attention remained with the more popular V8 category during this era, leaving the ASTC to later collapse in 2002 as an amateur category.

TEGA are now looking to instigate control floor pans and cylinder heads for both Commodores and Falcons so they are cheaper and easier to build and fix, potentially meaning that more rounds can be raced in a season and teams can afford to run multiple cars and have spares in case a car is severely damaged.

TEGA are now looking to instigate control floor pans and cylinder heads for both Commodores and Falcons so they are cheaper and easier to build and fix, potentially meaning that more rounds can be raced in a season and teams can afford to run multiple cars and have spares in case a car is severely damaged.

V8 Supercars 2008 ScheduleEdit

2008 V8 Supercar Championship SeriesEdit

Template:Start box |- ! Round ! Date ! Event ! Location |- | 1 | February 21-24 | Clipsal 500 | Adelaide, South Australia |- | 2 | March 7-9 | Eastern Creek Raceway | Sydney, New South Wales |- | NC | March 13-16 | Australian Grand Prix | Melbourne,Victoria |- | 3 | April 18-20 | Hamilton | Hamilton, New Zealand |- | 4 | May 9-11 | Bigpond 400 | Perth, Western Australia |- | 5 | June 7-9 | Sandown Raceway | Melbourne, Victoria |- | 6 | July 4-6 | Skycity Triple Crown, Hidden Valley Raceway | Darwin, Northern Territory |- | 7 | July 18-20 | Queensland Raceway | Ipswich, Queensland |- | 8 | August 1-3 | Winton Motor Raceway | Winton, Victoria |- | 9 | September 12-14 | L&H 500 | Phillip Island, Victoria |- | 10 | October 9-12 | Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 | Bathurst, New South Wales |- | 11 | October 23-26 | Gold Coast Indy 300 | Surfers Paradise, Queensland |- | 12 | November 6-8 | Desert 400, Bahrain International Circuit | Sakhir, Bahrain |- | 13 | November 21-23 | Falken Tasmania Challenge | Symmons Plains, Tasmania |- | 14 | December 4-7 | Oran Park Dunlop Grand Finale | Sydney, New South Wales |- Template:End box

2008 Fujitsu V8 Supercar SeriesEdit

Template:Start box |- ! Round ! Date ! Event ! Location |- | 1 | February 21-24 | Clipsal 500 Support | Adelaide, South Australia |- | 2 | April 4-6 | Goulburn | Wakefield Park, New South Wales |- | 3 | June 7-9 | Sandown Raceway Support | Sandown, Victoria |- | 4 | July 18-20 | Queensland 300 Support | Queensland Raceway, Queensland |- | 5 | August 17-19 | Winton Motor Raceway | Winton, Victoria |- | 6 | October 9-12 | Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Support | Bathurst, New South Wales |- | 7 | December 4-7 | Oran Park Grand Finale Support | Sydney, New South Wales |- Template:End box

Shannons V8 Touring Car National SeriesEdit

Template:Start box |- ! Round ! Date ! Event ! Location |- | 1 | May 17-18 | Mallala | Adelaide, South Australia |- | 2 | July 12-13 | Eastern Creek Raceway | Sydney, New South Wales |- | 3 | August 9-10 | Phillip Island | Phillip Island, Victoria |- | 4 | August 30-31 | Oran Park Raceway | Sydney, New South Wales |- Template:End box

Notable figuresEdit

Notable figures involved in the category include:

Television Coverage Edit

The V8 Supercars are broadcast by Channel Seven who secured the rights from the 2007 season onwards, taking over from Channel Ten, who had successfully broadcast the events since taking over from Seven in 1997. The deal is worth roughly AU$120 million. Channel Seven will show increased live coverage, as well as a 25-minute show specific to the series on weekends when there is no racing.

Coverage of all rounds in New Zealand was provided by Television One until the end of the 2007 season at which time coverage transferred to TV 3. SPEED covers the races in the United States.

The Series is filmed in Widescreen Digital and has six cars carrying in-car cameras with each having 4 or more mini cameras. However this is down on last year where eight cars carried cameras.

References Edit

  1. South Australia - Clipsal 500 Adelaide
  2. V8 Supercars Australia: Name change to reflect continued growth
  3. Name change for V8 body
  4. L&H 500 at Phillip Island gets major makeover for big race
  5. Phillip Island 500 here to stay
  6. Phillip Island 500 set to stay
  7. 7.0 7.1 A SUCCESS STORY - V8 Supercars Australia
  8. Streamlined board points V8 Supercars to big future
  9. V8SC: V8 Supercars board streamlined

External linksEdit

Template:Commonscat

Series
Teams

Template:V8 Supercar Teams Template:Australian Touring Car Racing Template:Sports leagues of Australia

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