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V8 Supercar

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V8 Supercars in action

The V8 Supercar is a category of touring car racing that evolved in Australia in the early 1990s. International touring car regulations seemed destined to preclude the Australian-built Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, to the disappointment of a majority of fans who had watched a long history of Ford-Holden battles in Australian touring car categories since the 1960s. In its early days, it ran in opposition to the "official" super-touring category, which ran cars under the international regulations, but gradually the bulk of sponsorship, driver talent, and fan attention drifted to the V-8 category leaving the super touring as an amateur category.

The regulations are designed to balance the desire for technical competition and fast vehicles with the requirement that costs are kept reasonable, racing is reasonably close, and the cars bear some resemblance to production models. The cars are based on either Commodore or Falcon production bodyshells, but from there almost every component is modified and some (such as differentials and gearboxes) are identical in all cars in the category. Engines are 5.0 L V8 with pushrod actuated valves and electronic fuel injection. Both Ford and Holden engines are based on racing engines from their respective US parent companies. Engines are restricted to 7500 rpm, and in this configuration most of the cars put out around 450 kilowatts of power. Basic front suspension configuration is similar to the road cars, whilst rear suspension is a "live axle" design, and spring and damper design is unrestricted. A "control tyre" is supplied to all teams. A standard "aerodynamic package" of spoilers and wings is supplied to the teams, and is tested so the two makes have as similar aerodynamic characteristics as possible. During the year, there are large restrictions on the number of testing days, along with the number of tyres used during those days. During race meetings, teams are allocated a set number of tyres for the entire weekend.

The category is commercially successful and highly competitive, with races all over Australia, one in New Zealand, and in 2005, the first race in China. Tracks range from street circuits in Adelaide to more permanent road courses at Phillip Island. The largest single event is the Bathurst 1000.

The first Australian Touring Car Championship under the V8 Supercar rules was won by Glenn Seton with his team-mate former Formula 1 world champion Alan Jones taking second in the championship.

The racing is very close and aggressive between the top teams (with usually less than a second separating the top 10 - top 20 cars), as there is no official involvement by major car manufacturers. However, both Ford and Holden do provide sponsorship to the top teams that run their cars. From 1996 to 2002, V8 Supercars Holden Racing Team, managed by Tom Walkinshaw Racing, had a decisive competitive edge over most of the opposition. More recently, the sport has seen the return to prominence of Ford through Marcos Ambrose and Stone Brothers Racing, winning in 2003 and 2004.

V8 Supercar Championship Series

List of Series Champions

Year Driver Make Team
1993 Glenn Seton Ford Glenn Seton Racing
1994 Mark Skaife Holden Gibson Motorsport
1995 John Bowe Ford Dick Johnson Racing
1996 Craig Lowndes Holden Holden Racing Team
1997 Glenn Seton Ford Glenn Seton Racing
1998 Craig Lowndes Holden Holden Racing Team
1999 Craig Lowndes Holden Holden Racing Team
2000 Mark Skaife Holden Holden Racing Team
2001 Mark Skaife Holden Holden Racing Team
2002 Mark Skaife Holden Holden Racing Team
2003 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stone Brothers Racing
2004 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stone Brothers Racing

Notable figures involved in the category include:

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