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Friday, 13 January 2017 00:00

Analysis: Back to the future into Gen2

204backtothefuture

V8 sedans have been the staple of Supercars for more than 20 years. But dig deeper in the Australian Touring Car Championship history books and you'll see non-V8s and coupes have their own heritage that should be remembered heading into Gen2.

V8X Supercar Magazine looks at the Gen2 plans afoot and delves into the past to see how history could be about to repeat in issue #96.

Issue #96 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #96.

For 20 years the series was known as V8 Supercars. In the bid to move on from Group A and differentiate from Super Touring, the marketing around V8 Supercars focused heavily on the V8 engines powering the Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores.

But with Supercars dropping the 'V8' tag, other engine platforms and body shapes being allowed in under the Gen2 rules from 2017 and Holden set to move away from its V8 in 2018, that brand recognition that served the series so well is now proving hard to separate itself from.

"The brand has already been changed to Supercars but I'm personally not even close to being convinced that we should be going away from V8s," says team owner Rod Nash.

His Prodrive Racing Australia outfit could keep the V8 alive when it potentially moves to a Mustang.

"V8 is the brand. The blue versus red has been our main asset, but there have been enough years now with other brands amongst it and I think that's been accepted. But there is still a big part of that is blue versus red and, on top of that, the noise of the V8 engines."

Garry Rogers, in contrast, believes Supercars must move with the automotive industry.

"The tradition is fantastic, but we've all got to move on at some point," he says.

"We'd be running around in horse and carts if we didn't change anything. There's no doubt that there's something to the sound of a V8, but I'm sure the public will get used to it."

Indeed, dig through the history of Australian touring cars and some of the most popular racers of the Appendix J, Improved Production/Group C and Group A eras fit the criteria of Gen2.

The Bluebird, Camaro, Sierra, Sykline and Torana are among the most iconic cars of the past with non-V8 or coupe roots.

The early Torana models ran with six-cylinder engines before the introduction of the V8-powered SLR/5000. The Bluebirds, Skylines and Sierras were pioneers for turbo technology in touring cars, while the Camaros, Mustangs and Monaros led the way for two-door coupe 'pony cars'.

And while many distinguish the international Group A formula used in Australia from 1985 to 1992 as the breeding ground for non-V8 two doors, it was under the Improved Production/Group C rulebook where body shapes and engine variety blossomed in the 1970s into the 1980s before the switch to Group A.

Tapping into the spirit of that era could help Supercars allay fears of the changes that are coming.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #96.

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Clipsal 500 Adelaide

2-5 March

Tyrepower Tasmania Super Sprint 

7-9 April

WD-40 Phillip Island 500  21-23 April 

Perth Super Sprint  

5-7 May 

Winton Super Sprint 

19-21 May 

CrownBet Triple Crown Darwin

16-18 June

Watpac Townsville 400

7-9 July

Coates Hire Ipswich Super Sprint

28-30 July

Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint

18-20 August

Wilson Security Sandown 500

15-17 September

Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000

5-8 October

Vodafone Gold Coast 600

20-22 October

ITM Auckland Super Sprint

3-5 November

Coates Hire Newcastle 500

24-26 November

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Pos

 Driver

 Points

 1

 Jamie Whincup

2850

 2

 Scott McLaughlin

2820

 3

 Fabian Coulthard

2674

 4

 Chaz Mostert

2586

 5

 Shane van Gisbergen

2574

 6

 Craig Lowndes

2160

 7

 Cameron Waters

2071

 8

 Mark Winterbottom

2058

 9

 Garth Tander

2028

 10

David Reynolds 

1956

 Full points table