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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Australian V8 Supercars: From Ashy to Classy

Australian V8 Supercars is the new "it" motorsport. According to who? According to us goddammit and probably you too if you have ever watched an event. These cars are the real deal. Today's race was at Phillips Island Raceway in Victoria, Australia. The track is tight and full of off-putting ever reducing curves with invisible endpoints. The bass tones rumbled through the surround sound speakers piquing my dogs curiosity (two rescued pitt bulls) while the digital quality of Speed Channel in HD is constantly improving and made for lavish camera shots that rival those of F1, Indy Car and Space Shuttle launches. Corners have quirky names that give birth to endearing phrases like "the Commodore passes down in Siberia" and commentators spiel about "Winterbottom" and "Borgwanna" completely straightfaced. 

These events are like Nascar races on too much espresso rather than too much crystal meth, wheeling lightweight race versions of what Americans would consider muscle cars through a serpent of tarmac dipping in and out of sculpted speed-inducing hills and shallow valleys. These tracks still have personality. You can see hay piled in farm fields just outside the fence line, the literal barriers of success have yet to be erected. The combination of cool road courses, and cars that are the perfect mix of several types of racing Americans enjoy, makes Australian V8 supercar events such as the upcoming Bathurst 1000 competition the new Indy 500/Monaco GP/Isle of Mann/24 Hours of LeMans/Daytona 500. Tho, to be clear, I do not remember a specific race being yellow flagged due to potentially prehistoric bird-creatures or wallabies wandering onto the course.The drivers seem encouraged to run into one another, maybe it's an Australia thing, don't try to understand it.

This led me to conclude that since Hyundai is the new Toyota (and maybe Lexus in a couple of years) then Holden, and other Aussie carmakers, could be new Big Three. Yes, we know how Holden, GM, Pontiac, Camaro, et al all share a tent, but as a whole, these purebred Aussie cars could lay waste to our fears of giving people too much engine power or too little fuel economy. We promise we will buy those planet salvaging cars, but we want some of these too.


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