|Category||Touring car racing|
|Constructors||Ford • Holden • Nissan • Volvo|
|Drivers' champion||Shane van Gisbergen|
|Teams' champion||Triple Eight Race Engineering|
The Supercars Championship (known as the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for sponsorship purposes and often shortened to just Supercars or its long-standing name V8 Supercars) is a touring car racing category based in Australia and run as an International Series under Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) regulations.
Supercars events take place in all Australian states and the Northern Territory, with the Australian Capital Territory formerly holding the Canberra 400. An international round is held in New Zealand, while events have previously been held in China, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. A non-championship event is also held in support of the Australian Grand Prix. Race formats vary between each event with sprint races between 100 and 200 kilometres in length, street races between 125 and 250 kilometres in length, and two-driver endurance races held at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast. The series is broadcast in 137 countries and has an average event attendance of over 100,000, with over 250,000 people attending major events such as the Clipsal 500.
The vehicles used in the series are loosely based on road-going, four-door saloon cars. Cars are custom made using a control chassis, with only certain body panels being common between the road cars and race cars. To ensure parity between each make of car, many control components are utilised. All cars must use a 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 engine. Originally only for Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores, the New Generation V8 Supercar regulations, introduced in 2013, opened up the series to more manufacturers. Nissan were the first new manufacturer to commit to the series with four Nissan Altimas, followed by Erebus Motorsport with three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs. Volvo entered the series in 2014 with Garry Rogers Motorsport racing the Volvo S60.
- 1 History
- 2 V8 Supercar specifications
- 3 Series structure
- 4 Race formats
- 5 Notable events
- 6 Future
- 7 Media coverage
- 8 Records
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The concept of a formula centred around V8-engined Fords and Holdens for the Australian Touring Car Championship had been established as early as mid-1991. With the new regulations set to come into effect in 1993, Ford and Holden were both keen to know the details of the new formula by the end of 1991, putting pressure on the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) to provide clarity on the matter. However, CAMS was waiting to see what the FIA did with its proposed international formula for 2.5 and 2.0-litre touring cars.
The new rules for the ATCC were announced in November 1991 and indicated that the V8 cars would be significantly faster than the smaller engined cars. During 1992, CAMS looked at closing the performance gap between the classes, only to have protests from Ford and Holden, who didn't want to see their cars beaten by the smaller cars. In June 1992, the class structure was confirmed:
- Class A: Australian-produced 5.0-litre V8-engined Fords and Holdens.
- Class B: 2.0-litre cars complying with FIA Class II Touring Car regulations.
- Class C: normally aspirated two-wheel drive cars complying with 1992 CAMS Group 3A Touring Car regulations. This class would only be eligible in 1993.
Both the Ford EB Falcon and Holden VP Commodore ran American-based engines which were restricted to 7,500 rpm and a compression ratio of 10:1. The Holden teams had the option of using the Group A-developed 5.0-litre Holden V8 engine, although this was restricted to the second tier 'privateer' teams from 1994 onwards, forcing the major Holden runners to use the more expensive Chevrolet engine. The V8s were first eligible to compete in the endurance races of 1992. The distinctive aerodynamics package, consisting of large front and rear spoilers, was designed partly with this in mind, to give the new cars a better chance of beating the Nissan Skyline GT-Rs in those races.
The new rules meant that cars such as the turbocharged Nissan Skyline GT-R and Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth were not eligible to compete in 1993, while cars such as the BMW M3 were. However, the M3 received few of the liberal concessions given to the new V8s and also had an extra 100 kilograms (220 lb) added to its minimum weight so, with the Class C cars eligible for 1993 only, the German manufacturer’s attention switched to the 2.0-litre class for 1994.
Cars from all three classes would contest the 1993 Australian Touring Car Championship as well as non-championship Australian touring car events such as the Bathurst 1000. However, for the purposes of race classification and points allocation, cars competed in two classes:
- Over 2000cc.
- Up to 2000cc.
Originally the 2.0-litre class cars competed in a separate race to the V8s. This was changed for the second round of 1993, after there were only nine entrants in the 2.0-litre class for the first round at Amaroo Park.
With the new regulations intended to be a parity formula, there were protests by the Holden teams that the Fords had an aerodynamic advantage after they won the opening three rounds, beating the Commodore comprehensively. After round five at Winton, Holden was granted a new front and rear wing package. The BMWs were also allowed a new splitter and a full DTM-specification rear wing. Disparity between the Fords and Holdens continued to be a talking point during the next few years, with various concessions given to each manufacturer to try and equalise the two cars.
From 1995, the 2.0-litre cars, now contesting their own series as Super Touring cars, became ineligible for the Australian Touring Car Championship. They did not contest the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst, leaving these open solely to the 5.0-litre Ford and Holden models.
The Australian Vee Eight Super Car Company (AVESCO) – a joint venture between the Touring Car Entrants Group of Australia (TEGA), sports promoters IMG and the Australian Motor Sports Commission – was formed in November 1996 to run the series. This set the foundation for the large expansion of the series during the following years. The category also adopted the name 'V8 Supercars' at this time, though the cars themselves were much unchanged. A new television deal with Network Ten was organised, although this had follow-on effects for the Bathurst 1000 later in the year.
In February 1997, Tony Cochrane and James Erskine left IMG. Together with David Coe, they formed Sports & Entertainment Limited (SEL) in April 1997. TEGA would have a 75% share in AVESCO, with SEL owning the other 25%. TEGA was responsible for the rules and technical management of the series and the supply of cars and drivers while SEL was responsible for capturing and maintaining broadcasting rights, sponsorship, licensing and sanction agreements.
The expansion of the series began in 1998, with the first round to be held in the Northern Territory taking place at Hidden Valley Raceway. In 1999, a new street-race on a shortened version of the Adelaide Grand Prix Circuit became one of the first festival-style events which would become common in later years. Australia's capital city, Canberra, hosted its first event in 2000. In 2001, a championship round was held in New Zealand for the first time, at Pukekohe Park Raceway. In 2002, the V8 Supercar support event at the Indy 300 on the Gold Coast became a championship round, having been a non-championship event since 1994.
Major format changes were made for 1999, with the incorporation of the endurance races into the championship. Control tyres were used for the first time, with Bridgestone selected as the supplier. The series was also renamed from the 'Australian Touring Car Championship' to the 'Shell Championship Series', by virtue of Shell's sponsorship of the category. Reverse-grid races were introduced for multiple rounds in 2000 before being confined to just the Canberra round for 2001. Also in 2001, compulsory pit stops were introduced at certain rounds and the Top Ten Shootout was used at all rounds. The control tyre supplier changed from Bridgestone to Dunlop in 2002 and the series name was changed to the 'V8 Supercar Championship Series' after Shell discontinued their sponsorship.
Discussions about parity had returned in 2000, with 100 millimetres trimmed from the front spoiler of the Commodore, after Holden, in particular the Holden Racing Team, had dominated in 1998 and 1999. This was in response to the 300 mm removed from the Falcon in previous seasons, and coincided with a 10 mm trim from the Falcon's rear spoiler. The small reduction for the Holden teams was quickly addressed with both cars receiving the same front splitter shortly afterwards, but the Falcon's rear wing remained trimmed. Ford had threatened to withdraw from the series, but nothing came of this. After Holden again dominated in 2001 and 2002, a new set of regulations, dubbed 'Project Blueprint', was introduced in 2003 to close the performance gap between the Commodore and the Falcon, thus creating closer, fairer racing. Project Blueprint was developed by Paul Taylor and Wayne Cattach, who spent two years designing a formula which would eliminate most of the differences between the Fords and Holdens.
Project Blueprint saw the chassis pick-up points, wheelbase, track and driving position become common across both manufacturers. The Holdens were now required to use double wishbone front suspension, similar to that of the Falcon, rather than the MacPherson struts used previously. The aerodynamic packages were comprehensively tested and revised and differences in the porting of each of the manufacturers' engines were also removed. The performance of the new Ford BA Falcon and Holden VY and VZ Commodores was fairly even for the next four years, with Ford winning the championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and Holden winning in 2006. Reverse-grid races were used at certain events in 2006 before unpopularity with the drivers, teams and fans saw them abolished halfway through the season.
The Holden VE Commodore caused controversy when it was introduced in 2007. The production model was longer, wider and taller than the rival Ford BF Falcon and outside of the limits set by Project Blueprint. As a result, the VE race car was granted custom body work - namely shortened rear doors and a lowered roof line - in order to meet the regulations. Despite this, the VE was approved for use in the series, along with the BF Falcon, after several months of pre-season testing. Sequential gearboxes were introduced in 2008 and became compulsory by the end of the year. In 2009, E85 (a fuel consisting of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded petrol) was introduced in an effort to improve the environmental image of the sport. Carbon dioxide emissions decreased by up to 50%, however fuel consumption was increased by 30% to produce the same power as before. 2009 also saw the introduction of a soft compound tyre at certain events to try to improve the quality of the racing and create different strategies.
In 2005, AVESCO changed its name to V8 Supercars Australia (VESA). The series continued to expand during this time, with races held outside of Australasia for the first time. The series travelled to the Shanghai International Circuit in China in 2005, originally on a five-year agreement, however the promoter of the race dropped their support and the series did not return thereafter. 2006 saw the series travel to the Middle East, with an event held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain. Multiple new street circuits appeared on the calendar in 2008 and 2009, with new events held in Hamilton in New Zealand, Townsville in North Queensland and at Sydney Olympic Park. The series' Middle East expansion continued in 2010 with a second round held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. In November 2010, the series was granted international status by the FIA for the 2011 season, allowing the series to race at up to six international venues each year. As a result, the series name was changed to the 'International V8 Supercars Championship'.
2008 saw the separate boards of directors of VESA and TEGA merge into a single board that was solely responsible for the administration of the category. The new board of directors was composed of four TEGA representatives, two members from SEL and two independent directors. In 2011, TEGA and SEL entered a sale agreement with Australian Motor Racing Partners (AMRP), which had significant financial backing from Archer Capital. This agreement saw SEL lose its 25% stake in V8 Supercars, with Archer Capital taking up a 60% share and TEGA the other 40%. A new board of directors was appointed, with two TEGA representatives and two AMRP representatives.
New Generation V8 Supercar
In the middle of 2008, a project led by Mark Skaife was organised by V8 Supercars to investigate future directions for the sport. The project had the primary objective of cutting costs to $250,000 per car through the use of control parts and to create a pathway for new manufacturers to enter the series, provided that they have a four-door saloon car in mass production. The new formula, called "Car of the Future", was scheduled to be introduced before or during the 2012 season. The plan was publicly unveiled in March 2010 and was shown to incorporate several key changes to the internal workings of the car. The chassis and the cooling, fuel and electronics systems would all be changed to control parts, with changes to the engine, drivetrain, rear suspension, wheels and the control brake package. The safety of the cars was also to be reviewed and improved. While the plans were well received by all of the teams, Holden Motorsport boss Simon McNamara warned potential new manufacturers to stay out of the championship just hours after the plans were released, claiming that they would "gain nothing" from entering the series.
Major changes were revealed to include a switch from a live rear axle to independent rear suspension; the use of a rear transaxle instead of a mid-mounted gearbox; the repositioning of the fuel tank to in front of the rear axle to improve safety; replacing the windscreen with a polycarbonate unit; and a switch from 17-inch to 18-inch wheels. In 2011, it was announced that the Car of the Future wouldn't be introduced until 2013. In February 2012, Nissan confirmed that they would enter the series under Car of the Future regulations with Kelly Racing. Later in 2012, Australian GT Championship team Erebus Motorsport announced they would be running Mercedes-Benz cars in the championship, taking over Stone Brothers Racing. In June 2013, Volvo announced it would enter the series in 2014 in a collaboration with its motorsport arm, Polestar Racing, and Garry Rogers Motorsport. In November 2013 the Car of the Future moniker was dropped in favour of the name "New Generation V8 Supercar".
The series continued its international expansion in 2013, with the first event in North America held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. In 2015, five drivers took part in a series of demonstration races at the Kuala Lumpur Street Circuit as part of the KL City Grand Prix. This was intended to be a precursor to the series holding a championship event at the circuit in 2016. The 2016 event was later cancelled due to legal issues affecting the circuit, however the circuit is still contracted to take place starting in 2017.
V8 Supercar specifications
The current New Generation V8 Supercar regulations are an evolution of the previous Project Blueprint regulations. The regulations control many aspects of the car to ensure parity between the manufacturers, allowing for minor differences in the engines and body shapes so that the cars bear some resemblance to their production counterparts. The regulations were also designed to lower the costs of building and repairing a car.
The body of each car is based on its corresponding production car. However, due to the regulations governing the dimensions of the cars to ensure parity, the race cars are lowered and shortened or lengthened to meet the regulations. As of 2016, only the Ford FG X Falcon, Holden VF Commodore, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG W212, Nissan Altima L33 and Volvo S60 are eligible to compete. To save costs, the front guards, passenger-side front door, rear doors and rear quarter panels are made from composite materials. The tail lamps are carried over from the road car, while the windscreen is replaced by a polycarbonate unit.
The bodies are built around a control chassis, featuring a full roll cage, originally designed by Payce Innovations but which can be made, or partially made, by other accredited builders, including certain race teams. Many safety features are utilised to protect the driver in the event of a crash. The fuel tank is positioned in front of the rear axle to prevent it from being damaged or ruptured in a rear end impact. The driver is seated towards the centre of the car and extra reinforcement is used on the roll cage on the drivers' side to lessen the risk of injury in a side-on collision. The cars also feature a collapsible steering column and a fire extinguisher system.
All cars have an aerodynamics package consisting of a front spoiler and splitter, side skirts and a rear wing. The aerodynamics package for each manufacturer is homologated after a series of tests which ensure that the different body styles produce near-identical downforce and drag numbers.
The minimum weight of each car is 1,410 kilograms (3,110 lb) including the driver, with a minimum load of 755 kg over the front axle. The minimum weight for the driver is 100 kg and includes the driver dressed in a full racing suit, the seat and seat mountings and any ballast needed to meet the minimum weight. Some other components also have a minimum weight, such as the engine (200 kg) and the front uprights (10.5 kg each).
Engine and drivetrain
All cars must be front-engined and rear-wheel drive. All cars use a 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8-engine with electronic fuel injection, capable of producing between 460 and 485 kW (620–650 bhp). Manufacturers are free to choose between using an engine based on one from their own line up or a generic engine provided by V8 Supercars. Both Ford and Holden use US-based racing engines with pushrod actuated valves and two valves per cylinder. Mercedes, Nissan and Volvo use modified versions of their own engines, with hydraulic-lift valves and four valves per cylinder. All engines are electronically limited to 7,500 rpm and have a compression ratio of 10:1.
Power is transferred from the engine to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential transaxle with an integrated spool differential. The individual gear ratios and the final drive ratio are fixed with drop gears at the front of the transaxle allowing the teams to alter the overall transmission ratio for different circuits. The cars use a triple plate clutch. The cars run on E85 fuel with a fuel tank capacity of 112 litres.
An electronic control unit (ECU), provided by MoTeC, is used to monitor and optimise various aspects of the engine's performance. Numerous sensors in the car collect information which is then transmitted to the team, allowing them to monitor things such as tyre wear and fuel consumption and find potential problems with the car. The ECU is also used by officials during the scrutineering process.
All cars are required to use a double wishbone setup for the front suspension and independent rear suspension. Both the front and rear suspension systems feature adjustable shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar which can be adjusted from the cockpit.
The cars use disc brakes supplied by AP Racing on the front and rear, with the master cylinders provided by AP Racing or former control brake supplier Alcon. The front discs have a diameter of 395 millimetres (15.6 in) and a six-piston caliper, while the rear discs are 355 millimetres (14.0 in) diameter and have a four-piston caliper.
Wheels and tyres
The cars use 18-inch control wheels, produced by Rimstock and supplied by Racer Industries, and control tyres from Dunlop. The slick tyre is available in both hard and soft compounds, with teams required to use either or both compounds in each race, depending on the event. A grooved wet tyre is used in damp conditions.
The New Generation V8 Supercar regulations are intended to reduce the cost of building a car (without engine) from around $450,000 to $250,000, with the cost of an engine coming down from around $120,000 to $50,000. These targets are not expected to be met until after the initial development phase has transitioned to replicated manufacture.
Teams and drivers
In order to compete in the Supercars Championship, drivers are required to hold a CAMS National Circuit Competition Licence, or a licence of an equivalent or higher level. Each car entered is required to have a Racing Entitlements Contract (REC). An REC is a contract between Supercars and a team which outlines the team's entitlements and obligations. RECs may be leased by their owners to another party for a maximum of two years, after which the owner must either use it themselves or sell it. A racing number is tied to each REC, with teams able to apply for an REC number to be changed. The defending series champion is entitled to use the number 1, with the original REC number of that car reserved and not able to be used by another team without the agreement of its owner.
The RECs were originally issued in 1999. Known as TEGA franchise agreements, they were divided into three categories – Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Twelve Level 1 franchises were issued to those teams that had competed in the series full-time since its inception in 1997:
A thirteenth was later issued to Bob Forbes Racing. A Level 1 franchise required a team to race at least one car at all events, and at various times allowed a team to enter up to four cars. Other teams received Level 2 and Level 3 franchises based on their level of participation. The structure was changed a number of times, before the present system of 28 RECs was arrived at in 2011. Supercars bought a number of RECs as they became available in order to achieve a long-held desire to reduce the field to 28 cars.
At the end of 2013, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Tony D'Alberto Racing and Triple F Racing each returned a REC to Supercars. These were put up for sale in 2014, but no bids were received. One was reclaimed by Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in 2015 after a legal fight. At the end of 2014, a further REC was returned by James Rosenberg Racing. In April 2015, Supercars launched a tender for one REC for the 2016 season, with Triple Eight the successful bidder.
Teams consist of one to four cars, with most one-car teams forming a technical alliance with a larger team. Only the REC holders are allowed to compete at each event, although "wildcard" entries are accepted for the endurance races, with a maximum of six extra cars on top of the regular 28. Both Supercars and Development Series teams have entered wildcard entries in previous years. In 2014, the first wildcard entry for a sprint race was issued when Dick Johnson Racing entered a third car for Marcos Ambrose at the Sydney 500.
Teams are required to employ a co-driver for each car during the three endurance races due to the increased race distance and the need for driver substitutions during the race. Teams were able to pair their full-time drivers in one car until a rule change in 2010 that required each full-time driver to remain in his own car and be joined by a co-driver not competing full-time in the series.
The Drivers Championship title is awarded to the driver who accumulates the most points over the course of the season. If there is a points tie for the series win, the champion will be decided based on the number of races won by each driver (if there is still a tie, it is based on second-place finishes and so on). Teams also compete for the Teams Championship, with the champion team being decided in the same manner as the Drivers Championship. For Teams Championship points scoring purposes, teams with four cars are separated into a pair of two-car teams, while teams with three cars are split into a two-car team and a single-car team.
A second-tier series, the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series, is run as a support category to the main series at certain events. Initially for privateers who didn't have the funding of the professional teams in the late 1990s, the series now serves the dual purpose of developing young drivers before they compete in the main series and a means for main series teams to give their endurance co-drivers more racing experience prior to the endurance races. Teams in the Dunlop Series compete with cars previously used in the main series.
A third V8 Supercar-based series, the Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Car Series, has been run since 2008 but has no involvement with the International V8 Supercars Championship or the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series, instead running on the programme of the Shannons Nationals Motor Racing Championships. However since 2016, several rounds have been run as support categories at Supercars events.
The are three types of events held in Supercars, each with its own race format: SuperSprint events, SuperStreet events and Enduro Cup events.
The SuperSprint format is used at the Tasmania SuperSprint, Phillip Island SuperSprint, Perth SuperSprint, Winton SuperSprint, Skycity Triple Crown, Ipswich SuperSprint and Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint.
The Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park events feature a single one-hour practice session on Saturday, while all other SuperSprint events have two one-hour practice sessions on the Friday with a fifteen-minute practice session on Saturday. The Winton and Ipswich events feature an extra thirty-minute session on Friday for endurance co-drivers. The SuperSprint format features a fifteen-minute qualifying session held on Saturday to decide the grid for the race on the same day. A single twenty-minute session is held on Sunday morning to decide the grid for the Sunday race. The Darwin event also features a top ten shootout (a session where the fastest ten qualifiers complete one flying lap each to determine the top ten on the grid) following the Sunday qualifying session. A single 120 km race is held on Saturday with a single 200 km race held on Sunday.
Three thirty-minute practice sessions are held on Friday, while Saturday and Sunday both consist of two ten-minute qualifying sessions which set the grid for the pair of 100 km races held on each day.
Two forty-minute practice sessions take place on the Friday at each SuperStreet event, while a twenty-minute practice session is held on the Saturday at Adelaide. The Adelaide event features two ten-minute qualifying sessions on Friday, while the Townsville and Sydney events have a single twenty-minute session on Saturday. All three events feature a twenty-minute session followed by a top ten shootout on Sunday. The Clipsal 500 Adelaide features two 125 km races held on Saturday and a single 250 km race held on Sunday. The Townsville event features a 200 km race on each of Saturday and Sunday, while the Sydney 500 has a single 250 km race on each of Saturday and Sunday.
There are three endurance events held during the year: the Sandown 500, the Bathurst 1000 and the Gold Coast 600. These events require two drivers per car and together they form the Enduro Cup, a prize awarded to the driver or drivers who score the most points across the three events.
The Sandown 500 and the Gold Coast 600 both feature three thirty-minute practice sessions held on Friday, with Sandown having an extra session on Saturday. Practice for the Bathurst 1000 consists of six one-hour sessions held across Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Qualifying for the Sandown 500 involves a twenty-minute session followed by a pair of 60 km "qualifying races" held on Saturday. The grid for the first race is based on the qualifying session; the grid for the second race is based on the results of the first. The results of the second race determine the grid for the main race on Sunday. Co-drivers must compete in the first of the qualifying races while the main driver must compete in the second. The Bathurst 1000 features a single forty-minute qualifying session on Friday afternoon followed by a top ten shootout on Saturday. The Gold Coast 600 has two twenty-minute qualifying sessions, one each on Saturday and Sunday, with the Sunday session followed by a top ten shootout. The Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 both have a twenty-minute warm-up session on Sunday morning.
The Sandown 500 and the Bathurst 1000 feature single races held on Sunday, at 500 km and 1000 km in length respectively. The Gold Coast 600 consists of two 300 km races with one held on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Points are awarded as follows at all championship events. Various different points scales are applied to events having one, two, three or four races, ensuring that a driver will be awarded 300 points for winning all races at any event. Points are awarded to all cars that have covered 75% of the race distance, provided they are running at the completion of the final lap and with a final lap time within 200% of the race winner's fastest lap. At the endurance events, both drivers earn the total points awarded to the finishing position of the car.
Tyres are allocated at each event as follows:
|Clipsal 500 Adelaide||24||8||16|
|Phillip Island SuperSprint||20||0||12|
|Skycity Triple Crown||0||24||12|
|Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix||0||24||12|
|Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint||0||20||12|
|Gold Coast 600||0||28||20|
The Bathurst 1000, also known as the "Great Race" and held in some form since 1960, is the most famous race on the Supercars calendar, as well as the longest both in terms of race distance and race time. The race is run over 161 laps of the Mount Panorama Circuit, 1000 km in total, with the race taking between six and seven hours to complete. The event has attracted crowds of nearly 200,000 people. The Peter Brock Trophy, named after nine-time Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock, is awarded to the winners of the race. The trophy was introduced in 2006 following Brock's death in a crash at the Targa West rally one month prior to the race.
The Sandown 500 was first held as a six-hour race in 1964 and has been labelled as the traditional "Bathurst warm-up" race. Like the Bathurst 1000, the Sandown 500 is run over 161 laps. Due to the shorter track length of Sandown Raceway the race is only 500 km and runs for between three and four hours. The Sandown 500 was not held for Supercars from 1999 to 2002 and from 2008 to 2011. During these years, the 500 km endurance races took place at Queensland Raceway (1999–2002) and the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit (2008–2011).
Clipsal 500 Adelaide
The Clipsal 500 has been held since 1999 and has become the traditional season-opening event. It is run on a shortened version of the former Adelaide Grand Prix Circuit. Consisting of two 250 km races run on Saturday and Sunday, the event has been labelled the most physically demanding by the drivers, due to the length of each race, the nature of the circuit and the effect of the heat. The event's format was changed for 2014, with the Saturday race being replaced with a pair of 125 km races. The event attracts crowds of over 250,000 people and is the only event to be inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame. The Clipsal 500 was the first carnival-style event which would become common in the ten years after its inception, with music concerts held during the night.
Gold Coast 600
The Gold Coast 600 was introduced in 2009 after the American IndyCar Series elected not to return to the Surfers Paradise circuit that year. The A1 Grand Prix series was scheduled to fill the void left by IndyCar, however the owners of the series went into liquidation in June 2009 and, as a result, the A1 Grand Prix cars were withdrawn from the event. In order to compensate for this, Supercars introduced a new four-race format, with two 150 km races held on each day. In 2010 the format changed to include two 300 km races and it became a two-driver event. To restore the event's previous international flavour, each team was required to have at least one co-driver with an 'international reputation' (that is, they were recognised for exploits in motorsport outside of Australia). In 2011 and 2012, all entries required an international co-driver. In 2013 the international co-driver rule was dropped, due to a number of incidents during the 2012 event and the formation of the Endurance Cup, but teams could still choose to employ an international driver for the endurance races.
In 2004, Supercars introduced the name "Grand Finale" for the final round of the season (having called it "The Main Event" in 2003 and the "V8 Ultimate" in 2001 and 2002). The Grand Finale was held at Sandown Raceway in 2001 and 2002, Sydney Motorsport Park in 2003 and 2004, Phillip Island in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and Oran Park Raceway in 2008. The Grand Finale name was used until 2008 before the Sydney 500 became the final event of the series in 2009. The Sydney 500 is held around the streets of Sydney Olympic Park. Its format is similar to the Clipsal 500, with a 250 km race held on both Saturday and Sunday. Despite having a relatively simple layout, the circuit is one of the most challenging on the calendar. The Sydney 500 will be held for the final time in 2016.
In December 2014, Supercars released details concerning the future of the category from 2017 onwards. New regulations, dubbed "Gen2 Supercar", will be introduced in 2017 and will allow the use of two-door coupé body styles and turbocharged four- or six-cylinder engines. Cars will still be required to be based on front-engined, rear wheel drive, four seater production cars that are sold in Australia. The chassis and control components will be carried over from the New Generation V8 Supercar regulations, while engine and aerodynamic parity will be reviewed.
The series is currently broadcast on Fox Sports and Network Ten, in a deal worth $241 million. Fox Sports shows all practice and qualifying sessions live along with the races. Ten shows only six events live, with the rest shown as a highlights package after the races have finished. The coverage is produced by V8 Media, a specialist production company for Supercars Australia. V8 Media provides the commentary for each race, with former champion and Bathurst winner Mark Skaife as lead commentator, along with Neil Crompton as expert commentator. Greg Rust, Riana Crehan and former driver Greg Murphy cover the pit lane. Both Fox Sports and Ten use their own commentary team for pre- and post-race coverage. V8 Media records the series in 1080i high-definition, with many cars carrying four or more onboard-cameras, though HD coverage is available only to subscribers of Foxtel HD.
The series had previously been broadcast by the Seven Network, from 1993 to 1996 and from 2007 to 2014, and exclusively by Network Ten from 1997 to 2006. During the years of Seven Network's broadcast rights, Network Ten continued to broadcast the series once a year for the V8 Supercars Challenge non-championship races, which are a support category at the Australian Grand Prix, which was broadcast by Ten. Previously when the Nine Network held the Australian Grand Prix broadcast rights in Australia, they would broadcast the Supercars support races at the Grand Prix. All support category races were tied up with the Grand Prix broadcast rights as a package.
Ten's television series RPM, which has aired from 1997 to 2008, in 2011 and from 2015 onwards, has covered Supercars, alongside other motorsports. From 2007 to 2014, Seven broadcast a weekly 25-minute show titled V8Xtra on non-racing weekends. The dedicated Supercars program covered news and feature items relating to the series. Since 2015, Fox Sports has broadcast a similar show, Inside Supercars, a weekly one-hour long program featuring a panel led by Rust and Mark Skaife. In the same year, Fox Sports also launched an observational show Supercars Life, featuring behind the scenes footage from race weekends and features on drivers' lives away from the track.
Current TV broadcasters
|Australia||Network Ten||Free||Live/Delayed||Six events shown live with all others delayed.|
|Fox Sports||Pay||Live||Includes live coverage of practice and qualifying sessions.|
|Asia||Setanta Sports Asia||Pay||Delayed||Only highlights are shown.|
|Canada||CBS Sports Network||Pay||Delayed|
|Malaysia||Astro||Pay||Live||Only races are shown.|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport||Pay||Live||Includes live coverage of practice and qualifying sessions.|
|Thailand||TrueVisions||Pay||Live||Only races are shown.|
|United Kingdom||BT Sport||Pay||Live|
|Motors TV||Free/Pay||Live/Delayed||Some races shown live with the rest delayed.|
|United States||CBS Sports Network||Pay||Delayed|
The series has its own live streaming pay-per-view service, V8 Superview. The service, which started in 2013, currently shows all races as well as qualifying sessions. The service is not available in New Zealand due to their current broadcasting rights with Sky Sport and has limited coverage in Australia due to the new broadcasting rights with Fox Sports and Foxtel.
The series has its own website, which contains information about the series, drivers, teams and events and news articles, and a radio show, V8 Insiders. News is also featured on motorsport websites such as SpeedCafe and Touring Car Times. A media deal with News Limited has been in place since 2009.
Supercars have made several licensed appearances in video games, including in Codemasters' V8 Supercars series in the 2000s and Turn 10 Studios' Forza series in the 2010s. From 2011 to 2014, an online championship, sanctioned by Supercars, was contested on iRacing.
- Figures accurate as of 10 July 2016 (after Race 15 of the 2016 International V8 Supercars Championship).
- Bold text indicates active full-time drivers, teams and manufacturers.
- The above records relate to the Australian Touring Car Championship (1960–1998), the Shell Championship Series (1999–2001), the V8 Supercar Championship Series (2002–2010), International V8 Supercars Championship (2011–2016) and the Supercars Championship (2016–present).
- Australian Touring Car Championship
- List of Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar champions
- List of Australian Touring Car Championship races
- List of Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar driver records
- V8 Supercars Hall of Fame
- "V8 Supercars announces 2013 championship calendar". SpeedCafe. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Optus provides V8 power coverage for Canberra 400". Optus. 7 June 2002. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 16
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 503
- "V8 Supercars simplify race formats for 2014, introduce three set styles for every event on the calendar". SPEED. News.com.au. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "About the V8 Supercar Championship". V8Supercars.com.au. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "International V8 Supercars Championship Series". Confederation of Australian Motorsport. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Next Gen V8 Supercars". V8Supercars.com.au. BigPond Sport. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
- Noonan, Aaron. "The New Generation of V8 Supercars". V8Supercars.com.au. BigPond Sport. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Nissan confirms Kelly Racing V8 Supercars entry". SpeedCafe. 9 February 2012.
- Spinks, Jez (19 September 2012). "Mercedes-Benz AMG racers to enter V8 Supercars". CarAdvice.com.au. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Volvo confirms entry into V8 Supercars". Auto Action. NineMSN. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 322
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 323
- CAMS Manual of Motor Sport (1993), p. 205
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 324
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 325–327
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 332–353
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 14
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 363
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p.15
- "Timeline: The Growth of V8 Supercars". SpeedCafe. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 15–16
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 110
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 388–389
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 401
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 411
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 421
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 404
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 431
- Lampton, Christopher. "How the V8 Supercars Championship Series Works - The Making of a V8 Supercar". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Paul Taylor". SpeedCafe. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 128
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 211
- Clarke, Wensley (2007), p. 182
- Grennhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 473
- "VE and BF ready to duke it out". The Border Mail. Fairfax Media. 25 January 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Innes, Stuart (16 February 2008). "Supercars changing with times". Fox Sports News. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "V8 Supercars to switch to ethanol". smh.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Dunlop to introduce its new V8 Sport Maxx "Sprint" tyre at Winton". Jax Quickfit Tyres. April 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Greenhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 492
- "China to host V8 Supercar championship". ABC News. 20 July 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Grennhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 453
- Grennhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 484
- Grennhalgh, Howard, Wilson (2011), p. 495–499
- Jackson, Ed (9 November 2010). "V8 Supercars granted international series status". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "V8 Supercars board streamlined". Touring Car Times. 28 March 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "V8 Supercars confirm new ownership structure". SpeedCafe. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "V8's Car of the Future details announced". SpeedCafe. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Phelps, James (29 March 2010). "Holden warn off Nissan and Toyota in V8 Supercars powerplay". DailyTelegraph.com.au. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 March 2010.[dead link]
- "Car of the Future date pushed back until 2013". V8 Daily Dump. 7 January 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Dale, William (8 January 2013). "Stone Brothers Racing will be renamed Erebus Motorsport for the 2013 V8 Supercars season". Fox Sports News. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "V8 Supercars Releases 2014 Rule Changes". V8Supercars.com.au. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (20 March 2013). "V8 Supercars confirms Texas event details". SpeedCafe. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "2016 Championship calendar released". V8Supercars.com.au. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "KL City 400 Supercar Extravaganza cancelled". Supercars. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. A1
- "Get ready to fly". V8 Supercars. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Park, Barry (22 November 2012). "Erebus reveals Benz V8 Supercar engine specs". GoAuto.com.au. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
At 4.9 metres long, the three Erebus cars that Stone Brothers Racing will field in 2013 are 100mm-odd longer than the E63 AMG road-going sedan on which the race car will be based, but the same width, at 1.8 metres.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C1
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C10
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan; Rowley, Grant (1 February 2013). "History made as all four V8 Supercars manufacturers face-off". SpeedCafe. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "All four V8 Supercars homologated for 2013 season". SpeedCafe. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C7
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C17–C24
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan; Rowley, Grant (6 October 2012). "Private backer pushing for Mazda DJR switch". SpeedCafe. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
Adopting V8 Supercars’ own ‘generic engine’ could also be an option.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (4 September 2012). "Nissan reveals 2013 V8 Supercar engine". SpeedCafe. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (12 October 2012). "Road version of Mercedes V8 Supercars contender spied". SpeedCafe. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
...which require the motors to be of 5.0 litres in capacity, running a 10:1 compression ratio and 7,500rpm rev limit.
- "Q&A with Albins -The V8 Supercar Transmission". V8SC Global. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C25
- "The V8 Supercar". V8SC Global. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C54–C55
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. C42
- "COTF opens door for new Ford, Holden engines". SpeedCafe. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
A current V8 Supercars engine in complete form is estimated to cost $80,000-$120,000.
- Skaife, Mark (1 December 2011). Car of the Future Evolution by Mark Skaife. V8Supercars.com.au. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
...which will meet the cost objectives of $50,000 to build...
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. A11
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. A6–A10
- Rowley, Grant (5 April 2012). "Charlie Schwerkolt closes in on 2013 V8 plans". Speedcafe. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. E8
- Normoyle, Steve (1999). The Great Race 19. Hornsby: Chevron Publishing. ISSN 1031-6124.
- "Gibson Motor Sport Merchandise Pty Ltd vs Robert James Forbes". Federal Court of Australia. 29 June 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "The push for 28 entries remains". Speedcafe. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "V8 Supercars confirms 25 car grid for 2014". Speedcafe. 5 February 2014.
- "V8 Supercars to open REC tender". Speedcafe. 23 June 2014.
- LDM to run two cars in 2015 V8 Supercars 5 December 2014
- "Rosenberg dumps license in Walkinshaw shock". Speedcafe. 3 December 2014.
- "V8 Supercars launches tender for 26th REC". Speedcafe. 10 April 2015.
- "The Rise and Rise of Tekno Autosports". V8Supercars.com.au. V8 Supercars Australia. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
Jonathan Webb ran as a satellite entry from within the famous Queensland outfit...
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. A23
- "Triple Eight Unveils Wildcard Drivers/Sponsor". Speedcafe. 5 September 2013.
- "First Pics: MWM's Fujitsu Wildcard Entry". Speedcafe. 9 September 2010.
- "Ambrose to make early V8 return at Sydney 500". Speedcafe. 25 October 2014.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. D10–D18
- "V8 Drivers Forced to Split for Enduros". Speedcafe. 11 December 2009.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. D42
- "Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars". Shannons National Motor Racing Championships. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "V8 Supercars simplify race formats for 2014, introduce three set styles for every event on the calendar". SPEED. News.com.au. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. A18, A20–A21
- "V8 Supercars Announces Prestigious Endurance Cup". V8Supercars.com.au. V8 Supercars Australia. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "Radical changes to V8 Supercars race formats". SpeedCafe. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "10 Fast Facts: Wilson Security Sandown 500". V8Supercars.com.au. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. D67–D68
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. D41–D42
- 2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual, p. D47
- "Frustrating Day at Bathurst". CraigLowndes.com.au. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
...for much of Australia's most famous motor race.
- "Peter Brock Trophy to last a lifetime". smh.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 October 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Kelly, Rick (14 September 2012). "V8 Supercars stars tell SPEED how to win this weekend's Dick Smith Sandown 500". The Daily Telegraph. Fox Sports News. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- "Crimsafe Endurance Countdown, Episode 6, Return of Sandown 500". SpeedCafe. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- "Queensland Raceway". V8 Supercar Racing. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Lowndes, Craig (11 September 2012). "Sandown 500 back where it belongs". CarsGuide.com.au. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
Over the past four years the 500km race has been staged at Phillip Island...
- Dale, William (2 October 2012). "The 2013 Clipsal 500 will keep its traditional season opening spot as tickets go on sale today". SPEED. News Limited. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "2013 Clipsal 500 Adelaide Preview". Morris Finance Ltd. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "2014 Clipsal 500 Details Revealed". V8Supercars.com.au. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Clipsal 500 inducted into Motor Sport Hall of Fame". Clipsal.com.au. 2005. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "The Concerts". Clipsal500.com.au. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Gold Coast Indy undergoes name change". ABC News. 17 February 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Harrington, Ben (27 June 2009). "British A1 Grand Prix arm stalls". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Passmore, Daryl; Stannard, Damien (17 October 2009). "A1 shambles is the pits, Anna". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "V8 teams prepared for extra miles in Qld". SpeedCafe. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Stars confirmed for Gold Coast 600". SpeedCafe. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Grand Finale, Eastern Creek Raceway - Round 13". V8 Daily Dump. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "The Main Event - Eastern Creek Raceway - Round 13". V8 Daily Dump. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Homebush V8 race gets go ahead". News.com.au. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Homebush street circuit throws up challenge to V8 stars". The Australian. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Axe falls on Sydney Olympic Park street race". Speedcafe. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- "V8 Supercars blueprint for 2017 and beyond". V8Supercars.com.au. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "V8 Supercars signs $241m media rights deal with FOX SPORTS, Foxtel and Ten Network from 2015". Fox Sports. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "V8 Supercars commentary team revealed". V8Supercars.com.au. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (3 March 2015). "Jury out on V8 Supercars TV deal after solid start". Speedcafe.
- Washbrook, Cyril (15 January 2013). "Seven extends V8 Supercars television deal". Media Spy. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Inside Supercars debuts this evening". V8Supercars.com.au. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "Sitemap and services". Motors TV. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "V8 Supercars and Sky TV NZ Announce Five Year Agreement". V8Supercars.com.au. V8 Supercars Australia. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Watch V8 Supercars". V8SC Global. Archived from the original on 18 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- B, Kevin (1 August 2011). "V8 Supercars to Sanction iRacing.com Series". iRacing.com. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Most Championships Won". V8 Daily Dump. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Winning Record In Sight For Lowndes". V8Supercars.com.au. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Clarke, Andrew; Wensley, Scott (2007). V8 Supercars: The First Decade. Carnegie, Victoria: Publishing 101. ISBN 978-0-9803909-0-2.
- Greenhalgh, David; Howard, Graham; Wilson, Stewart (2011). The official history: Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years. St Leonards, New South Wales: Chevron Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-9805912-2-4.
- "2016 V8 Supercar Operations Manual". V8 Supercars. 23 February 2016.
Media related to V8 Supercar at Wikimedia Commons