If you have been hiding under a rock for the past 6 months you might not be aware that this weekend it is the first race for the V8 Supercars in Austin COTA. This event is the most anticipated event in V8 Supercar history as it is the very first time the series hits US shores.
However this isn’t the first time V8 Supercars have gone off shore, the series has raced in Bahrain and Abu-Dhabi as a support race for the Formula 1 circus but did not prove popular with the locals.
“I’m a firm believer that if you take it to places like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi and you don’t have people there that actually appreciate it, it isn’t the best thing for the business”. Said Mark Skaife
“I think at a place like this… Americans will love this sport. This is the sort of event that we believe will be sustainable.”
“We didn’t know and we’ve spoken to a lot of people about what the crowd expectation is,” he added when asked by a representative from Speedcafe.com
“We’re hearing that the pre-sales have been ‘pretty good’, but we don’t know what pretty good means. Is it the same as Formula 1? What would NASCAR get if they came here (Australia) and raced?
“It’s a new territory for a lot of us. We’ve tried very hard to do promos linked to big events, so the MotoGP promo (where 2010 V8 Supercars Champion James Courtney drove demonstration laps in the category’s Car of the Future prototype car) was very important.
“My honest opinion is that you need more than one year. To appraise it in one go is very hard.
“But what’s really important is to put on a good show. If we put on a good show then we can hold our hands on hearts and walk away from here saying we’ve done our very best.”
Also V8 Supercars are looking to introduce a fifth manufacture in 2014 and have been speaking with Kia, Hyundai and US manufacture Chrysler.
“The level of interest with new manufacturers has been great. It bodes well for what is a pretty good litmus test for car companies looking at what’s gone on.
“Other car companies quote what these guys (Nissan) have got in free ink (press coverage). It’s good when other car companies can at least level the participation and at least monitor what’s going on.”
V8 Supercars’ engine regulations are undoubtedly the biggest hurdle for new manufacturers, with both Nissan and Mercedes-AMG currently struggling to match the performance of the incumbent Ford and Holden powerplants with their four-valve, double-over-head-cam units.
Although Chrysler, through its Dodge sister brand, has the basis of a V8 Supercar motor available to it through its recently defunct NASCAR program, the two Korean brands would face a similar task to Nissan and AMG of getting a road car based unit up to speed.
I Personally think that Toyota will be seriously looking at joining in the next 2 years as they have a V8 car in their range (Camry) and will be looking very closely how Nissan’s domestic (Australian) car sales go. Toyota have been very successful in NASCAR since they entered the series in 2007 but have been racing in American series since 2000.
This weekend is set to be a CRACKER of a race so if you can’t get there because you have to help your wife.. make sure your watching it on TV with your oven mitts on because you will be hitting yourself that you aren’t there with a hot dog in one hand and a cold beer in the other and clapping at the same time.