The real point though is the fact that a car approaching it’s sell-by date in the Supercar series, popped out of the woodwork to send a dominant message to the rest through nothing other than exceptional preparation and top tier driving….a lesson to be learnt by all.
First out of the box with an “imported” car built outside of Australia becoming a Supercar was the Opel Insignia derived ZB Holden Commodore in early 2018… criticised by the Ford fans who labelled the car an Opel so as deride the lineage. That was typical of the rabid fan support but something of an irony because Holden V8 racers going back to the 70’s were Opel derived anyway and that is where they obtained the Commodore moniker in the first place. The ZB was not a ground-up development but essentially a rebodied VF Commodore incorporating progressive improvements along with expected Aero and Centre of gravity benefits. The ZB also broke the mould being allowed as a two door hatchback in the series for the first time.
Early performance suggested that the new Holden had countered the Falcon threat…but that did not last long and it became very obvious that the Shell V Power Fords were consistently quicker… convincingly taking the 2018 championship. For DJRP to run the Falcon in the 2018 season and surpass the performance of the new ZB was an ominous ring of the bell pending the intro of the Mustang for 2019. This was a car which had been in prep for over a year both in Australia and at Penske HQ in the USA….highly likely to be quicker than the Falcon it replaced…. and that is where we are today. A new Era of Supercars with both the Blue Oval and General now based on imported product…. The first round must go to Ford.
Where are we halfway through 2019 then?
- The 6 Mustangs in the field hold 48 top 5 finishes
- The 16 Holdens in the field hold 31 top 5 finishes
- The only ZB Holdens in contention so far are the Erebus Penrite cars of Dave Reynolds and Anton de Pasquale with Whincup beginning to show some race pace.
- Those Penrite Holdens at Darwin can thank their engine department for giving them straight line missiles which prevented the Fords getting a run on them down that long straight…not necessarily something that will be of benefit at all tracks.
- Red Bull Holden are still scratching…something we should not see from a works outfit halfway through the year
Only a calamity will prevent McLaughlin from taking the championship…so two in a row for Ford and as history has shown, that run could last for another year…unless the General has other ideas. The difficulty of course is that different to 2018, where the DJRP cars were the only Fords clearly quicker than the 888 Holdens…all 6 Mustangs are on the money this year.
There was talk of bringing the Camaro onto the scene for Holden but this has two problems, firstly Chevrolet have yet to appreciate that the right hand drive world would love to have a Camaro dedicated to them. Secondly the Camaro is distinctly a Chevy, not a Holden, giving the marketing boys a problem with branding…lets see what happens.
Are Holden going to make the comeback through development skill or return to a fight on parity??…I hope it will be the former.
Let’s return to the battle for the second half of the year…. we have been here before, with one or other of the teams showing dominance….historically the situation has steadied and become an even battle or swung back the other way….
The magic now is watching the recovery.