Jul 212008

It’s been a while since I drew attention to the latest in news from the V8 Supercar paddock, so given yesterday’s race was such a boon to Ford fans, I thought it best to tell you that the sport’s administrators consider the ‘Red-v-Blue’ rivalry to be all but dead.

In what sounds very much like a tacit opening of the door to a third, and maybe even more manufacturers, V8 Supercars Australia Chairman, Tony Cochran is on records stating that the red versus blue rivalry isn’t as relevant as it used to be in years gone by.

“The red versus blue is not the image and power it once was. It was everything. Back in the Peter Brock/Dick Johnson era, that was it but there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.”

Cochrane cited V8 Supercars Australia research showing there was only one in three fans now who were against a third manufacturer entering the category, compared to two in three five years ago. He said the change in attitude over the years was interesting, especially since Ford’s recent announcement that it would only fund Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing next year. Which future manufacturer(s) we see entering the fray is yet to be revealed and may not eventuate for a few years yet, but clearly, the door is now open.

I posted recently about the proposed move to ethanol blended fuel for season 2009. It’s now official. Tony Cochrane has announced as from 1 February 2009, V8 Supercars Australia will adopt a blended E85 – 85% ethanol/15% petrol – fuel mix. Triple Eight Racing, together with other teams, have been testing the fuel which is derived from molasses, a sugar refinery by-product. It’s known that the fuel is 30% less efficient as opposed to the premium unleaded petrol currently being used, but the Supercars run on it just as well as on PULP, just not as far. I’m bemused though, by the linkage drawn by Cochrane between the country’s premier motorsport category switching to E85, and what we average punters use in our own cars.

“From an education perspective," he said, "our job is very much based around ok, if we can run it in our cars, then maybe it’s the fuel the average motorist can use. It’s just getting the ethanol message out there that it is a viable product.”

Keen sentiments, especially in a growing, positive climate change environment, but Australia doesn’t have any E85-capable cars on it’s roads and doesn’t appear likely to have any time soon. Maybe if the public create enough interest pressure because of the race cars running on it, manufacturers might introduce suitable engines, but which oil company is likely to sacrifice profits to provide access to it? Without the suitably constructed engines, there’s no-way the average Joe could run the fuel, even if it were available. Ethanol is corrosive, hydrophilic and more volatile than petrol. Even the E10 versions we have currently will destroy an engine if used exclusively over time. I guess time and public interest pressure will tell.

Lastly, I thought I’d treat you all to a good guffaw. Remember in yesterday’s post, I made mention of the on-screen comment made by Ford Performance Racing’s team boss, Tim Edwards regarding his fervent desire to see Mark Skaife retire? Here’s a brief reminder:

Edwards slammed Skaife on Channel Seven’s coverage, saying: “The sooner he retires, the better for all of us”.

Later he re-affirmed his comments and added: “It is quite obvious that you don’t touch a car through a high-speed corner like that. He tapped Richo, unsettled him and turned him around. Someone of his experience shouldn’t be making a mistake like that.”

Skaife described the contact as a racing incident. “We bumped as he went passed me and then I needed to get in line behind him; the car has bad bump control at that point of the track and there was a little bit of contact, but I didn’t think there was enough for him to spin, but the cars are very unsettled there,” he said.

When told of Edwards’ comments, Skaife was not impressed and indicated that he may get a lawyer to look into the matter. A lawyer??????!!??? Mark Skaife’s going to get a LAWYER to look into a throwaway comment, which isn’t very far off the mark, because he thinks he shouldn’t retire.

BAHHHHAHAHA! Wake up, Skaifey! You’re used by date expired a long time ago.

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