There was a time when Holden and Ford dominated the Australian touring car series known as V8 Supercars, with their respective Commodore- and Falcon-based race cars going head to head each round and legions of fans turning up to support their favorite teams and drivers. Unfortunately, the popularity of the sport never really translated into sales, with both Holden and Ford recently confirming plans to end production in Australia in the coming years due to poor sales and a lack of competitiveness.
Now, the Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] has confirmed it will also end factory support for its Ford Performance Racing team in V8 Supercars at the end of the 2015 season, though the automaker still plans to provide technical support for any teams that choose to race its Falcon-based race car beyond the 2015 season. Production of the Falcon ceases at the end of 2016 and it’s likely there won’t be a replacement race car from Ford after this date.
But with Ford set to end its factory support for V8 Supercars next year, rival automakers are keen to join. In 2013 Nissan joined the fray with an Altima-based race car and this year saw Volvo enter with an S60-based race car as well as a private team enter using a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG-based racer. Another automaker considering the sport is Lexus, and we could certainly see more automakers lining up to enter V8 Supercars in the near future. It’s proven so popular that even Roger Penske has formed a team.
Under the current regulations, a single ‘control’ chassis is common to all teams but engines and styling are unique. Although a V-8 engine is mandated, the production cars the race cars are based on are not required to feature a V-8 option, hence the inclusion of race cars based on the likes of the Nissan Altima and Volvo S60.