This year it is going to be a classic, Ford have recovered from two years in the doldrums with Penske having merged into the system from the USA and contracted the ex-Holden superstar French tech-man Ludo Lacroix. In the legendary team owner’s own words “Ludo has lit a fire under the team”. Holden are fighting back after a series of victories and awesome front line pace from young superstar McLauchlin in the V Power Falcon. This last week end in Townsville, Whincup in the Holden took race 14 in the series. Halfway through the year, the championship is as tight as a drum, 6 points in it, 1602 plays 1608…Holden vs Ford.
When you have an entire field of 26 saloon cars on the grid having polled within 1.5 seconds of the lead car….that’s something special…..and it happens for a very simple reason. The ruling body know what they are doing. Am I making it all sound perfect?…Well it isn’t, there is plenty of disagreement, muttering and yes even conflict behind the scenes….but you know what?…..they pull it together at a level that sets an example of how it should be done to the rest of us. Let me give you an example.
There is a new threat looming for the series, just as there was for F1 four years ago and that is the simple fact that V8 engines have a finite lifespan on the planet. They unfortunately have to go…..Sacrilege, I agree…… and initial thoughts would have us think that in 2019 those Aussie nutters are going down the same road as our F1 buddies, because the series is looking to Turbocharged V6 engines. The danger here is that with F1 engines still sounding like a flock of excited geese, for Supercars to give up the 8 in V8, the very core of the series, is on the face of it unthinkable. There is no choice however and as the world progresses we must, I suppose, give up a few of those closely guarded non-negotiables and grudgingly concede this one…but it may not be a sacrifice at all.
Firstly as noted earlier, the series title has been changed, the ‘V8’ has gone, two years before the V6 engine arrival. Secondly teams have already started testing their steeds with V6 engines…and surprise, surprise… In reading through the article on first tests conducted by Holden last week there was just one short comment in the piece that differentiates the new efforts in Aus from the F1 V6’s.
To the question, ‘what does it sound like?’ there was the collective response… ‘Awesome’…and I may be stepping on the toes of the ‘E’ racers a bit here but… that is again what this sport is all about & for those that ignore this issue, you do so at your peril. In a way I am glad that my years on this planet have coincided with the march of the internal combustion engine. I have on many occasions pondered the thought of what it would have been like to be born in the 19th century, or worse, in about 50 years from now. There would, quite unfortunately, be no real reason for plying that daily toil. I have tried imagining the sound of hooves at very high speed and without success there, the sound of electric motors buzzing at 120,000 rpm mixed in with the sound of whining gears and squealing tyres. For some reason, this also does not stir the imagination …must be a gene thing.
What am I comparing it to?…Simple answer….quite a lot. For example my single cylinder lawnmower at full throttle and particularly when it bites into a chunk of kikuyu, sounds better than that electric motor mixed with whining gears. At the very other end of the scale with thousands of examples in between, the sound of a F1 V10 Ferrari at Monaco accelerating up the Avenue d’ Ostende…. with the acoustic receiver (me) standing behind the fence at Sainte Dȇvote looking straight up the exhaust pipes…and hearing that otherwise illusive bang at every shift point as the car disappears up the hill to Casino Square….with no other cars on track.