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28 of Australia’s V8 Supercars will be competing in the first-ever U.S. V8 Supercars race on May 17-19 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and they have just begun arriving in the States.
Ford and General Motors could have an all-too-familiar rival in the V8 Supercar series and despite some rumors, it won’t be from German or Japan. Hailing from the other side of the world, where they’re cross-town rivals, Chrysler is tipped as the latest possibly entry into the touring car championship.
Top Chrysler designer and CEO of the new Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand Ralph Gilles confirmed as much recently, telling Australian outlet The Age, that, “I am extremely interested (in V8 Supercars),” though he stopped short of confirming anything.
According to Chrysler Group Australia managing director Clyde Campbell his division is in constant contact with SRT and even made some strong hints about the future, commenting that, as SRT is all about incorporating racing technology into street cars, having a strong racing presence is important.
A possible timeline for entry into the series could see Chrysler coming in at the start of next season with a new “Car of the Future” plan that would make fielding a team more affordable. Estimates peg a two car team at roughly $10 million dollars for a season. There’s a catch, however, as fielding a team takes more than just money. Current regulations mean Chrysler would have to enter the series using an existing team, meaning they’d have to woo one of the Ford or Holden groups away from their current partner.
While Chrysler putting so much effort into an Australian-market-exclusive product seems like a long shot, the series’ plans for the future include expanding the championship to a wider audience. The Australian V8 Supercar series has already visited the Middle East and is scheduled to run one race in Austin, Texas in 2013.
[Source: The Age]
Over the last decade, this Aussie racing series has expanded beyond its island home, having staged races in China, New Zealand and the Middle-East. Now it is looking at the United States to stage a race, and it will probably be at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This circuit is being built especially to host Formula-One races in the coming years, and since the Australian V8 Supercars are an FIA sanctioned race series, it makes sense to race at this new circuit.
V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane has said that the series is looking to expand to six new overseas venues, while retaining all the currents stops in Australia. This could include some European and Asian destinations, plus the ever attractive American market.
You’ll have to wait some time before watching these V8 Supercars race in the flesh. The FIA has approved new races for this series for 2013. By then the new circuit in Austin should be complete. We can’t wait to see Holden (GM) and Ford racing head-to-head on our shores.
[Source: The Age]
With Toyota not involved in Formula 1 any more, the company is looking for ways to promote itself in racing, while using the experience to improve its road cars. Rumors of Lexus joining the DTM series in Europe never came to fruition – which makes sense as Lexus is promoting itself as a “green” brand in Europe, offering only hybrid models.
The latest report comes from Australia, where Lexus is apparently engaged in talks with the Australian V8 Supercars series. Lexus Australia boss Tony Cramb let slip that a “initial meeting” has occurred. Cramb downplayed the significant of the meeting, but did say that they’re looking at options.
The obvious choice or the series would be the V8-powered, rear-drive Lexus IS-F sports sedan.
It’s likely that the series is desperate to get increased involvement from other automakers, with only Ford and Holden currently competing.
With some big changes coming to the Australian V8 Supercars series, Mercedes-Benz may be looking to get in on the action. Starting in 2012, the Australian NASCAR-meets-Touring Car series will follow after the U.S. stock car series by introducing a Car of the Future platform, essentially making the championship more of a spec series.
The new cars would trade the out-dated live-axle setup for a fully-independent one, while DOHC engines would replace the current pushrod ones – both updates that are more consistent with Mercedes’ high-tech engineering capability. A series dominated by Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores, the fan following has done great things for the domestic Australian automakers, who have seen a rise in sales of high-performance FPCs and HSVs. Mercedes, quite reasonably, isn’t prepared to sit back and watch other automakers take over the market for big V8-powered rear-drive sedans.
Adding to the speculation is word that Mercedes has commissioned the renowned Brock Engineering team to build a C63 AMG-based track taxi to take VIP guests around for hot laps ahead of this year’s races – no doubt drumming up interest and testing the waters.
The rule change doesn’t take place until the 2012 season, so there won’t be any Mercs competing in V8 Supercars until then, but when and if Mercedes does arrive, they might not be alone. Reportedly, both Nissan and Hyundai are examining the possibility of getting involved as well.