Apr 022012

Just been reading about the Kelly Bros heading to the US for an unveiling of the 2013 Nissan Altima sedan, rumoured to be the mount Kelly Racing will be astride come the unveiling of Car Of The Future next year.

From all I can read on the road car – upon which all V8 Supercars are supposed to be based – the biggest donk the Nissan sports is 3.5l in a V6 arrangement pushing through a 6-speed box. Given that CotF is a non-production look-alike, flat-pack kit car formula adoption by V8 Supercar Australia, one can see the attraction for other manufacturers to re-enter the fray alongside the evolved home brand Holden & Ford Supercars. Build your body shell around a known chassis & cage structure and go racing. Too easy, but wait a mo….how can a production model V6 which isn’t sold in this country be justifiably matched to the Falcon & Commodore race cars, the road going versions of which do actually exist and ARE sold daily.

I fully support encouraging other manufacturers back to the Australian premier motorsport category. However, the very name of the category states clearly what the formula is based upon. A 5.0l V8 front mounted, rear-drive race car. However the bits & pieces, gear linkages, fuel tank, suspension & engine mounting goes, that’s the basis of the formula. Purpose designed over the past 20 years to be close racing, competitive racing and above all else, exciting racing. We’ve been up this multiple manufacturer road before & it all ended in tears & abuse at Mount Panorama in 1992. Then it was called ‘Group A’. Then, it was Nissan that brought along a trick pony to slay all other runners, albeit a giant-killer of a pony but it damn near ended the category. In fact, it did. 1993 saw the evolutionary beginnings of the V8 Supercars we have today.

The rules for next year are entirely different to the 1993 rules put forward in 1992. This time, the cars themselves are preordained. Hell, they’ll even come in IKEA-like flat-packed crates with a stock engine if that’s what your preference is. Off-the-shelf V8 Supercar, just add your body panels & go racing. 2013 will be the closest our former production car racing has come to being full-blown American NASCAR space frames. I can live with the fact that our current Falcons & Commodores aren’t even remotely like production cars. Neither were Group C cars by 1984. I can live with the fact that safety has to take precedence over style and parity for the sake of competition has to take precedence over reality. I can live with a Commodore that’s 15cm shorter than it’s road-going look-alike and a Falcon with a wheelbase different to its road-going relative. What I can’t live with are other manufacturer entries which don’t present as V8 engined equivalents to available-in-Australian showroom options. What’s the point in entering a vehicle model called Altima, saying it’s based on the road car when the road car doesn’t come with a V8 engine even as a special option? Then there’s the question of Nissan’s little tricky bits like active aero-dynamics. Is that to be allowed under CotF regs. If not why not? The road car has it, or at least is rumoured to. But wait….there’s no V8 engine. Oh that’s okay, we’ll just slot in a customer build, V8 Supercar, off-the-shelf 5.0l donk. I’m afraid that makes the entrant a chimera, even a unicorn. The best of all possible alternatives but entirely non-existent in the real world.

Still….if Nissan are permitted to pull such a stunt, what’s wrong with Team Vodafone adopting the standard GM-Holden 6.0L engine option? Why not have an entire field of unicorns racing in 2013? Hello 1985….good to see you coming ‘round again.

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