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Mar 15, 2013 - 06:33 AM
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Aussie V8 Supercar Invasion Headed To Austin
Posted by: newsla on Mar 15, 2013 - 06:32 AM
Sports Cars
Aussie V8 Supercar Invasion Headed To Austin


The spectacular door banging action of the Australian V8 Supercar Series is set to do battle in the United States for the first time in 2013 when the championship visits the Circuit of the Americas from May 17-19 for the inaugural Austin 400.

 

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Featuring V8-powered sedans from Ford, GM, Nissan and Mercedes - the championship enjoys fanatical support from Australian fans with leading stars enjoying the same level of vocal support that NASCAR fans express for their favorite Sprint Cup star.

NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip had the chance to witness V8 Supercars first hand in 2011 when he was part of the commentary team for SPEED TV's US broadcast of Bathurst 1000 - the Australian equivalent of the Daytona 500.

Waltrip took the opportunity to take a lap of the legendary 3.86 mile Mount Panorama circuit which features dramatic elevation changes - 570 feet from its lowest point to its highest. Waltrip's hair-raising ride alongside former Bathurst 1000 winner and 2000 Indy Lights driver, Jason Bright was captured on camera (click video link above)

Richard Petty Motorsports Australian NASCAR ace Marcos Ambrose is a two-time former champion in the series - taking the series honors in a Ford in 2003 and 2004.

“The drivers may find the track a bit slick; at the Formula 1 event it took a long time to rubber up but that makes it even more fun to watch, especially as the V8 Supercars slide around quite a bit,” Ambrose said. (pictured right after winning the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide in 2004)

“These guys love to rub panels so that’s going to be spectacular. The V8s are running the short circuit and that is somewhat unknown … but I think it might be the better choice. It is going to be very technical and full of passing opportunities.

“The first corner will be interesting. I was so, so afraid of a crisis situation at the start of the Formula 1 race but I guess they took care of each other and got through it. The problem is that you almost do a 180 (degree turn) and, with the wide entry, you can go in there four abreast, but four abreast cannot come out.”

Austin, Texas becomes the latest international venue for the championship. The series has made regular visits to neighboring New Zealand since 2001 and has included the likes of Shanghai, China plus Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in recent years.

What is a V8 Supercar?

Australia's door banging road course answer to NASCAR

While the exterior shape of the race winning "cousins" - the Holden Commodore VF V8 Supercar and the Chevrolet SS NASCAR - may be similar, beneath the skin you'll notice dramatic differences.

The Australian-developed right-hand-drive Commodore is the same road car as the recently-launched left-hand-drive Chevrolet SS.

But when it comes to the race track, there are dramatic differences in the race versions. Both V8 Supercars and NASCAR were once true "stock" cars, both championships have evolved considerably since the early days.

Australia's "Car of the Future" enjoyed a spectacular debut on the streets of Adelaide, South Australia recently with Nissan and Mercedes Benz joining the championship ranks - breaking the duopoly enjoyed by Holden (GM) and Ford from the past 20 years.

All the V8 Supercars are built on a common platform but feature body panels which more closely resemble the road car compared to NASCAR - the Australian cars even feature doors which actually open like the road car.

The Australian cars are more than 300lbs lighter than a NASCAR but the American machines enjoy more horsepower.

It is a "horses for courses" scenario. The V8 Supercars race exclusively on road courses and would be dramatically faster than a Sprint Cup car around the Circuit of the Americas. However, if you placed one an oval in a head to head battle, the NASCAR machine would triumph.

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