A pass­ing par­ody

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On the Web - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

DONOT go look­ing in a show­room for any­thing you see on V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing track.

There is no such thing as an Ere­bus. The Nis­san Al­tima does not have a V8. Even the Fal­con and Com­modore that race to­day are barely re­lated to the road-go­ing cars with the same name.

And the Volvo S60 that hits the grid in 2014? Well, it’s just a high-speed par­ody of a Swedish fam­ily car.

Volvo is go­ing to roll out a car with a re­tired V8 that was once used in the XC90, switch­ing drive from the front wheels to the back, not both­er­ing about airbags or ABS and def­i­nitely not fit­ting its bril­liant City Safety sys­tem. So it’s a Volvo, Sven, but not as we know it.

V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing might be great en­ter­tain­ment but more peo­ple are now fol­low­ing driv­ers than badges— as Craig Lown­des proved by swap­ping from Holden to Ford, then re­turn­ing to the Red Lion, while con­tin­u­ing as Aus­tralian mo­tor sport’s big­gest drawcard.

As for the old say­ing: ‘‘ Win on Sun­day, sell on Mon­day’’, it’s so old it’s past its sell-by date. Lit­er­ally.

If you want proof you only have to look at Fal­con sales. The fam­ily Ford (or some­thing badged that way) still wins on the track but it’s a long-term loser in show­rooms and head­ing for the knack­ery in 2016. Or, quite likely, ear­lier.

So why are car com­pa­nies still join­ing V8 Su­per­cars? The sim­ple an­swer is what The

Gruen Trans­fer crew calls mar­ket­ing and brand build­ing.

Volvo wants to look speedy, not just safe and sen­si­ble, so it’s go­ing rac­ing. Nis­san wants to cre­ate an­tic­i­pa­tion for the com­ing mid-sized Al­tima, so it’s go­ing rac­ing.

Ford and Holden need to con­tinue their ap­peal in the rust belt— as Toy­ota un­kindly calls it— where the Com­modore and Fal­con are the top choices for sec­ond­hand shop­ping, so they con­tinue rac­ing. Track ac­tion also helps Holden shift some SS and HSV hero cars.

As for Ere­bus, it’s a life-size rac­ing game for mega-rich Betty Kli­menko, who hap­pens to be a huge Mercedes-Benz fan. Benz is not back­ing the pro­gram (and was ac­tively against it for a while) but she is spend­ing more than enough mil­lions to com­pen­sate with cars that are dead-ringers for E63s.

Cars­guide is a long-time fan of tour­ing car rac­ing and knows noth­ing is more spe­cial than Bathurst in Oc­to­ber.

But the days when Bathurst was a high-speed show­room are so far in the past we might as well be talk­ing about Juras­sic, rather than McPhillamy, Park.

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