Big brands all raring to join the V8 race
DO not try to go looking in a car showroom for anything you see on the track in V8 Supercars racing.
There is no such thing as an Erebus. The Nissan Altima does not have aV8 engine.
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 engine that was once used in the XC90 people mover, switching drive from the front wheels to the back, not bothering about airbags or ABS brakes, 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 car brands — as Craig Lowndes proved by swapping from Holden to Ford, then back-flipping to the red lion, all the while continuing as the biggest drawcard in Australian motorsport.
As for the old saying ‘‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’’, it’s so old that it’s past its sell-by date. Literally.
If you want proof you only have to look at Falcon sales results. 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 crew call marketing and brand building.
Volvo wants to look a bit speedy, not just safe and sensible, so it’s going racing.
Nissan wants to create some anticipation for the upcoming 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-sized racing game for mega-rich Betty Klimenko, who happens to be a huge Mercedes-Benz fan. So Benz is not backing the program, and was actively against it for a while, but team owner Klimenko is spending more than enough millions to compensate with cars that are dead ringers for Mercedes E63s.
The Carsguide crew are longtime fans of touring car racing, enjoy a bit of on-track biff, and know that nothing in Australian sport is more special than Bathurst in October.
But the days when Bathurst was a high-speed showroom are so far in the past we may as well be discussing the Jurassic age.
Try buying a Nissan Altima with a V8 engine like this V8 Supercar and you’ll be disappointed
Erebus may be a hot team on the V8 circuit but there’s no such car to be had on the market