New Zealand limited for choice, eh bro!
It’s sad and disappointing to see the end of V8 Supercar racing in New Zealand, for the foreseeable future anyway. I rated Hamilton as an event. As far as street circuits go, it was a real challenge for the drivers and always created a great race. Who could forget the amazing scenes last year of Ford and Holden Kiwi fans cheering home Shane Van Gisbergen for his first win! It’s a shame because Hamilton was a genuinely good event.
So the conundrum begins.
V8 Supercars have to return to New Zealand, regardless of how long it takes to find a new venue. If the sport is fair dinkum about international expansion, it can’t be without a round across the ditch. A street race in Auckland has been mooted, but if that is to ever happen, serious lessons must be learned following the cost blowouts and ticketing failures of Hamilton.
As good of an idea it may be to have V8s weaving in and out of buildings nearby Auckland harbour, the series should focus its attention on getting back to Pukekohe. The track is a driver favourite and the crowds are certain to flock back to the joint. If it means taking a year or two to get the facilities up to standard, then do it. Make sure the future of V8 Supercar racing in New Zealand is secure, because losing a round would be disaster for the series.
If it aint broke, don’t fix it!
Here we go again. Prepare to take your calculators to the race track because V8 Supercars have come up with another confusing and unnecessary format change.
This year qualifying at Barbagallo will feature two 15 minute sessions to sort out the grid for Races 8 and 9, with a 10 minute break to be held in between. Then for an added ‘twist’, drivers must only use hard tyres in the race 8 session, while soft tyres are the requirement for race 9 qualifying.
Here’s the truth: the format change will do absolutely nothing to spice up the racing! The gun drivers will qualify at the top in both sessions, and the slow blokes will be at the back, as usual. The only thing format changes like this do is confuse the punters!
Racing fans are a simple breed. They want to see as much on-track action as possible, and just like footy fans, they want consistency with the rules and regulations. Keep qualifying the way it is at every round, and get rid of add-ons rules. It does nothing to spice up racing.
Nissan’s V8 challenger passes first test
If the concept drawings prove to be accurate, the new Nissan Altima V8 Supercar will be a big winner with fans.
With new manufactures coming in, I have one major rule that has to be met: New cars joining the series have to actually look like a V8 Supercar.
Here’s a simple design formula: Aussies like aggressive spoilers on their cars. We want mean looking headlights and front grills, as well as a car that has a stylish arse! I don’t think the Altima looks as good as a Commodore or Falcon, but it still has a nice feel as a race car and that is important.
I’m happy for any brand to dip their toe in the V8 market, but the sport must make sure news cars adhere to the unique look and style of the series. I applaud Chrysler for having a go at breaking into the sport, but I seriously doubt punters would have supported it anyway. There’s something about that front grill that wouldn’t look right in V8 Supercar racing.
It’s perhaps a narrow minded view of the sport, but I think it’s important to protect the little things that make the sport great. Tough looking and loud sounding cars are a part of the fabric of V8 Supercars racing, and future expansion should never comprise those unique aspects.
Well done Nissan. It looks a winner to me!
Bernie’s Wolff whistle
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is never short of a classic line and his latest offering about Williams’ new development driver Susie Wolff is an absolute doozy:
“If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team and on top of that she is very intelligent. I am really looking forward to having her in Formula One” Ecclestone said.
Apart from being an incredibly sexist and inappropriate remark, it raises a pretty good issue: Is it time for another female competitor in Formula 1?
Wolff, perhaps better known as Susie Stoddart, would probably be out of her depth in F1. She’s had a moderately successful career in British F3, Formula Renault, and has been a long-time DTM pilot, without setting the world on fire. But if either Pastor Maldonado or Bruno Senna fails to come good, surely you could do worse than putting Wolff on the grid in a Williams.
Just five women have competed in F1, the last being Giovanni Amati for Brabham in 1992.
But if anything has been learnt from Danica Patrick’s career, we know media, sponsors, and race fans are incredibly intrigued by women competitors. Patrick is insanely popular in the U.S and it’s a safe bet the British Wolff would go down in a big way in F1. Williams could hardly lose making a move to put Wolff in the car, if she’s good enough.
Stoner’s title arm wrestle
Casey Stoner says he’ll hit the gym ahead of Jerez to make sure arm fatigue doesn’t cost him another win like it did it Qatar. I reckon it’ll take a few more injuries or illnesses to stop the Aussie in 2012. On testing form and from what we saw in Qatar, it looks only a handful of blokes have a chance for the title.
Jorge Lorenzo will obviously be Stoner’s main rival, and he seems to have recovered well from his accident at Phillip Island. There are no concerns over the speed of this bloke. He’ll go close.
After Lorenzo, the contenders quickly dry up. Pedrosa and Spies are too hot and cold to put together a serious title campaign. The Yamaha Tech 3 boys of Dozizioso and Crutchlow have more work to do on race pace, while Ducati is all at sea. I remember a time when I was sick of Rossi dominating; now I’m sad for him.
The Stoner v Lorenzo battle should be fascinating, although I’m expecting Stoner to get the job done again. There are no excuses. He’s the best rider with the best bike, but his body seems to let him done a lot.
'Jamie Mitchell is a Sports Reporter for Sky News on FOXTEL/AUSTAR, Channel 601'.