2013 sees the re-emergence of international competitors on Australian motor racing circuits. Players such as Nissan & Mercedes-Benz are entering vehicles into the competition and it's likely to shake things up for Ford & Holden, and their respective fans. This years Bathurst should be very exciting as the reign of our home-grown's are put in doubt and the feathers of die-hard's fans are likely to be ruffled. My biggest fear is not that Ford or Holden will lose on Mount Panorama, but that Australian motor racing fans will once again make fools of themselves internationally just like they did in 1992.
1992 saw a Nissan GTR declared the Winner with Jim Richards and Mark Skaife sharing the driving duties. At that time Bathurst was part of the International Group A Touring Car series and the rules allowed vehicles, other than Ford or Holden, to compete. The race was abandoned, with just a few laps to go, due to dangerous track conditions - a controversial decision to say the least.
Being part of the international circuit gave us a great opportunity to showcase Mount Panorama around the globe. But, it was marred by Australian morons, whom were too stupid to see the bigger picture! The crowd booed the legal winners and generally made fools of themselves on an international level because their beloved Ford or Holden had been whipped by a superior vehicle. We made headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons and demonstrated poor sportsmanship! On the podium, Jim Richards retaliated with a mouthful of deserved abuse - and the crowd deserved every word.
The race at Mount Panorama has been around for a long time and used to include vehicles from all manufacturers. It was a true test of driver stamina and the caliber of their vehicles. It was an opportunity for manufacturers to demonstrate the strength and durability of their cars, cars that could be purchased by motorists for every day use. There was little difference between a Bathurst race car and what was on the showroom floor at your local dealer. Today the vehicles running around the track are far from reality, heavily modified and impossible for the average joe-blow to replicate on the road.
How many of you remember watching Toyota Corolla’s racing at Mount Panorama right next to racing greats like Peter Brock in his famous 05 Commodore or Alan Moffat driving the mighty Ford Falcon?
For many years Ford and Holden have been the only two runners at the races and whilst they're great competitors they certainly have a lot to learn, and both Nissan and Benz are likely to teach them a thing or two. It's a fact that Nissan build better engines and Benz build better cars! That's a bold statement to make and I'm sure die-hard Ford / Holden fans are screaming blue-murder right now but facts are facts and you can't intelligently argue against it.
Personally, I'm a Holden fan yet my favourite car is the good old GTHO Phase III, so I'm not biased towards any particular brand. I believe that motor racing is about cars & drivers and allowing just two brands to race doesn't make exciting viewing. Having said that, over the years there have been some great moments "The Lap of the Gods" (Holden) back in 2003 comes to mind and I get a chill each time I watch it - see it below;.
Nissan and Benz are a welcome distraction from the norm and give Australia a second chance to show that we are deserving of their participation. But, what happens when our home-grown vehicles lose? Will our race fans accept they were beaten fair and square or will they once again make idiots of themselves?
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