V8 SupercarThe V8 Supercar is a category of touring car racing that evolved in Australia in the early 1990s. International touring car regulations seemed destined to preclude the Australian-built Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, to the disappointment of a majority of fans who had watched a long history of Ford-Holden battles in Australian touring car categories since the 1960s. In its early days, it ran in opposition to the "official" super-touring category, which ran cars under the international regulations, but gradually the bulk of sponsorship, driver talent, and fan attention drifted to the V-8 category leaving the super touring as an amateur category.
The regulations are designed to balance the desire for technical competition and fast vehicles with the requirement that costs are kept reasonable, racing is reasonably close, and the cars bear some resemblance to production models. The cars are based on either Commodore or Falcon production bodyshells, but from there almost every component is modified and some (such as differentials and gearboxes) are identical in all cars in the category. Engines are large-capacity V8 components based on the same basic engine block as production models but with virtually every other component modified for higher performance. Engines are restricted to 7500 rpm, and in this configuration most of the cars put out around 450 kilowatts of power. Basic front suspension configuration is similar to the road cars, whilst rear suspension is a "live axle" design, and spring and damper design is unrestricted. A "control tyre" is supplied to all teams. A standard "aerodynamic package" of spoilers and wings is supplied to the teams, and is tested so the two makes have as similar aerodynamic characteristics as possible.
The category is highly commercially successful, with several new events on street circuits in Adelaide and Canberra drawing upwards of 50,000 people on raceday and the Bathurst 1000 endurance race continuing its popularity.
Whilst the racing through the field is close and aggressive, the quasi-factory Holden Special Vehicles team has, over the course of the decade, usually held a slim but decisive margin over its rivals. The team was owned by Arrows Formula One team owner Tom Walkinshaw until Walkinshaw's financial problems forced a sale, initially to Holden itself but from there to driver Mark Skaife.
Notable figures involved in the category include:
- Mark Skaife
- Craig Lowndes
- Greg Murphy
- Steven Johnson
- Paul Radisich
- Russell Ingall
- Larry Perkins