Racefan’s Ramblings

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News, Views and reviews of F1, V8Supercars and others…

Decision Confirms Kelly’s V8 Crown

Posted by Pat Kershaw on December 12, 2006

Holden’s Rick Kelly is the official V8 Supercars champion after a protest hearing judged in his favour, and Ford rival Craig Lowndes ruled out taking further action.

A three-man Confederation of Australian Motorsport panel of race stewards took four hours to decide Kelly had been sufficiently punished for his role in a dramatic accident in the season finale at Phillip Island.

Kelly and Lowndes had gone into the last race of the season level on points, and there was a early tangle between the two of them which effectively cost Lowndes any chance of winning the title.

Race officials ruled Kelly was responsible and issued a drive-through penalty during the race, but he recovered to finish 18th, while Lowndes’ steering was badly damaged and he could only finish 29th.

Kelly has won the title without winning any of the 13 rounds, while Lowndes won four rounds, including Bathurst.

The points system will be changed for 2007

There has been some consolation for Lowndes at the annual V8 Supercar awards.

He has won the prestigious Barry Sheene Medal for outstanding leadership, personality, fan appeal and sportsmanship.

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Govt puts brakes on Townsville V8 Supercar funding

Posted by Pat Kershaw on December 8, 2006

    Hmmmm….
I am worried that this is an omen. This post in Two Sections. 1. Qld Govt. Decision and; 2. V8Supercars response…
First the QLD govt. decides not to fund another race in the streets of Townsville. OK. I can see it from a politically defensible position. The they do fund the Gold coast Indy, but that race makes the state a pile more money than it cost. With hundreds of thousands of ticket sales over the weekend it is a huge direct boost to the economy. Then there are the Thousands of jobs, and millions spent on supplies. This is spent in QLD, and that is spent and so it goes…
But the numbers have until now shown the Townsville race to be a better return on the investment. So I don’t quite understand this decision from the government…
    ABC Online … Read the rest of this entry »

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V8 Supercars make the World Stage!!

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 25, 2006

phitp_6333_th.jpgLooking through my V8 super car and Motorsport Google links and blogs.

So What??

Well I constantly hear and read the local media regarding V8’s as a “Domestic” series, and speaking of it as a minor cousin to “international” series. As a result Tony Cochran and his team are seen as pushy, money oriented and even a bit pig headed.

But we have one of the most successful series in the world, making money hand over fist, and traveling overseas for two races, (Three if you count going to Tasmania!!). This weekend they have traveled 12,000 Km to Bahrain in the middle east for the penultimate round. These are not F1 cars that can be disassembled and packed into shoe boxes. They are BIG, and they are heavy, they use lots of tyres and fuel, and panels…

So I come to my point. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bahrain International Circuit » The Australian Logistics

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 22, 2006

BICAs The V8 Supercars head to Bahrain I found this really interesting article from the Bahrain International Circuit, helps you realize the sheer scale of the industry that V8 Supercars have become. F1 may be a way out in front, but not many other series! From next year the organizers are on a cost containment bent to avoid the sport out pricing itself. But WOW, what a show, and they are loud, fast and aggressive. Love it!

This is a press release, but I have highlighted some interesting bits for those not so interested in reading it all!

Over 110 tonnes of V8 Supercar muscle and technical know-how to manage them touched down in the Kingdom of Bahrain yesterday in readiness for this weekend’s Desert 400 race weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit (November 23-25). It is only the second time that the Supercars have taken flight, following a hugely successful foray to China’s Shanghai Circuit in 2005. Read the rest of this entry »

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Local Boy comes good

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 14, 2006

From the ABC.

Will is a local Toowoomba boy, and deserves everything he has achieved. He has worked hard for it, and maintains a wonderfully level headed outlook. Go Will!

Power podiums, secures Rookie title

Australian driver Will Power claimed his first Champ Car World Series podium placing and sealed Rookie of the Year honours at the season-ending race in Mexico City this morning.Power, from Toowoomba in south-east Queensland, finished third behind Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais and England’s Justin Wilson.

Power became the first Australian to claim a Champ Car podium finish since Geoff Brabham finished third in the season finale in 1987.

His effort elevated Power into sixth place in the championship standings, making him the highest-finishing Australian in the Champ Car World Series standings, eclipsing Brabham’s eighth place finishes in the championship in 1982, 1984 and 1987.

Bourdais bumped his way past England’s Wilson on the final lap to capture the race, ending the season with seven wins from 14 starts.

Bourdais, 27, had already sealed his third consecutive Champ Car crown thanks to his eighth-place showing on the Gold Coast.

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V8 Cost containment gains momentum

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 14, 2006

The ongoing V8 Supercar cost containment debate, the next generation extension to ‘Project Blueprint’ was announced recently.

Project blueprint is the governing bodies continuing efforts to provide parity between the marques. This is designed to ensure the team doing the best job, and the best driver, will rise to the top. In previous generations it was necessary to have the “Right” car. Take the Ford Sierra days! This is the way of the future, and it is successful in the Nascar universe, and has been with the V8’s.

the next stage is now underway, with the cars so even a small increase in performance comes at a horrendous cost. Catapillar just withdrew their sponsorship from a front running team, after apparently pouring in $10 million in a few years. The danger is always that the big teams get all the dollars, all the results, all the press, and leave the smaller fellows in a downward spiral of trying to keep their heads above water. It would not be the first series to price itself out of existence.

And so we had an announcement a few days ago about one of the new “control” components. These are ‘off-the-shelf’ parts you must use. mostly in areas such as brakes where teams invest millions in developing new and better technology. It helps to even the playing field. V8x carried this story in the past day…

Alcon to put the brakes on V8 Supercars in first cost containment measure

Media Release

The Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA) today announced that the V8 Supercar Championship Series will utilise control brake components supplied by Alcon Components from the commencement of the 2007 Championship season.

It is the first in a series of cost containment measures to be rolled out in the coming months to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sport and its’ teams. This initial measure is expected to save more than $1 million each year for the Championship Series teams.

All V8 Supercars in the series will, following an implementation year in 2007, be required to use identical brake discs and calipers in Championship events from the commencement of the 2008 Championship.

In announcing the multi year arrangement, TEGA Chairman Kelvin O’Reilly said: “We have gone through an exhaustive process with the various brake component suppliers to the Championship teams over the past 10 months to arrive at the decision to appoint Alcon as our official brake component supplier.

“Alcon’s proposal was compelling in its commercial attractiveness and its technical merit. The discs and pads available to the Teams for 2007 are all current specification components that are in use on race winning cars and they will be available to the Teams at considerably lower prices than they currently pay.

“The original drive for control brakes came from the need to constrain the cost of competition in the Championship. We expect this decision to result in a saving across the Championship Teams approaching or exceeding $1 million in the first year.”

Alcon Managing Director Alistair Fergusson said the deal was a continuation of the long-term partnership between the company and several V8 Supercar Championship Series teams.

“Alcon has supplied brake and clutch components to the Championship over the past six years in a joint strategy with PWR Performance Products that has been designed to offer technically excellent brake and clutch products, backed by the highest level of service to competitors in the Championship,” said Alcon Managing Director Alistair Fergusson .

“The V8 Supercar Championship is a fabulously entertaining and competitive Series and I am delighted that we will be able to support TEGA and V8 Supercars Australia in ensuring that the Championship goes from strength to strength in the future.

Alcon Motorsport Sales Manager Andy Burton sees the new component supply agreement as the natural next step for the Alcon/PWR alliance.

“TEGA saw the need to contain the cost of competition and ensure full grids in the years ahead. Alcon and PWR have shown their commitment to the series over the past six years and we are very pleased that the TEGA Board has judged our proposal as being in the best interests of all competitors.”

PWR Performance Products Managing Director, Kees Weel commented: “V8 Supercars have sought cost containment for some time and I am delighted that PWR Performance Products in alliance with Alcon has been awarded this contract to deliver these savings. The best part is that teams all teams will not only save money, they will also have parts offering the same premium levels of safety and performance.”

The move to a control brake package does not however mean that all cars will have identical brakes. Throughout the term of the agreement, Alcon will offer a choice of front and rear pads thereby ensuring that different driving styles can be accommodated.

The first discs and calipers required for the 2007 season are already being manufactured and the first deliveries will be made in the New Year.

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Rick kelly grabs championship lead Symonds Plains Fallout

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 13, 2006

After an action packed weekend at Symonds Plains the battered and wounded are now facing a short turn-around to get their cars onto a plain to Bahrain for the next round of the V8 Supercars Championship. In the first race on Saturday a couple of cars where destroyed, one permanently, before the first corner! The action just kept going from there. One commentator in pit road was showered with grass and dirt a number of times as nearly everyone had some sort of off. But the big stories are Rick Kelly’s taking the lead in the championship after a DNF for Craig Lowndes in the first race. Craig also had a spectacular drive in the remaining two races, including a few dramas, to net as many points as he could. With a brand new track, (and some runoff room) at the next track we are in for a treat!
So heres a few news stories from Crash.net and motorsport news that pretty much sum up my impressions of the round.

 

Having gone into the weekend 30 points behind Craig Lowndes, Rick Kelly will leave Tasmania a happy man after opening up a 73 point advantage in the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship standings. The Toll HSV Dealer Team driver secured three top five finishes at Symmons Plains to claim fourth overall in the round on a weekend when main rival Lowndes hit problems in race one which then affected him for the rest of the meeting. After a dodgy start in race one due to a clutch issue, Kelly managed to jump Mark Winterbottom on the outside at the hairpin on the first lap to move into fifth place, only to lose the position again when Winterbottom him Kelly out of his pit bay by a split second during the stops. He then settled down to consolidate his position at the front of the field, inheriting fourth place when pole sitter Mark Skaife had to return to the pits to have a loose wheel nut tightened, and third place when team-mate Garth Tander suffered an engine problem. Advertisement [Go Advertisement Free] “Obviously my start wasn’t too impressive, thanks to my clutch off the line,” he said. “We dropped back just a little bit to Mark but got around the outside of him at the hairpin, which was good, but lost a little bit to Mark in the pit stop, which put us behind him. I was a little bit conservative after the pit stop to conserve the tyres – we had a little bit of a squirm in the corners. But after ten or so laps I got back into it and had a bit of a shot at it. We caught Mark a little bit, but it was starting to get a little bit edgy again, so we just made the decision to sort of sit there.” Race two saw Kelly faced with an anxious moment when a chunk of styrofoam from a broken sign got lodged in his Commodore’s air intake, sending the engine temperature soaring to a crippling 135 degrees. However, quick thinking by the title hopeful solved the problem when he dropped behind a tailender’s car and into the swirling draft which dislodged the errant foam. In the end he only lost a single place and finished the race in fifth. The final race however passed without incident as Kelly secured a fourth place finish that meant he outscored Lowndes by 103 – opening up a nice lead to take into the first trip for the V8 Supercar championship to Bahrain. “I am pleased with that,” he said. “I was quite impressed with the way the team managed the weekend. The car wasn’t perfect early on, but they worked away it all weekend and we managed to keep towards the front of the field and come away with the points we wanted.After Bathurst, we decided we had to take a more aggressive approach to each round, but after the past two rounds, we will now return to the more conservative approach that has served us so well this season. Bahrain is an unknown quantity, but the cars we are driving are very similar to the cars HRT did so well in at Shanghai last year, so we are feeling fairly confident that we can give that round a shake.”

Craig Lowndes – Team Betta Electrical [Pic credit: Ford] Craig Lowndes may have lost his lead in the V8 Supercar Championship but the Team Betta Electrical man was at least able to salvage something from a tough weekend of racing at Symmons Plains. Lowndes headed into the Tasmanian weekend with a lead of 30 points over closest rival Rick Kelly, but his chances of a strong result disappeared at the start of Saturday’s opening race when he was forced into an unscheduled pitstop that sent him plummeting down the order. Lowndes problem in that opening race came after an incident involving team-mate Jamie Whincup that saw him go off into the wall at some 200km an hour, destroying the chassis that won the Bathurst 1000 in the process. Whincup’s off produced a dense dust cloud which created further havoc for following cars with Lowndes one of those involved in some minor collisions in the ensuing chaos. Forced to pit at the end of lap one to replace a front splitter, Lowndes dropped two laps and when he returned to the race he circulated in 27th place to at least pick up some points. Advertisement [Go Advertisement Free] “It was just one of those incidents that were unavoidable,” he said. “Both Murph and I moved left to try and keep out of Jamie’s path and I put a wheel out on the dirt and spun creating another dust cloud. “I was very lucky no one gave me a good whack, once I stopped I found myself in a precarious position but thankfully the other drivers realised what had happened and backed off. It was disappointing to concede so many points but we are not out of it yet and with 854 points still up for grabs anything can happen.” From 27th on the grid, Lowndes battled through to finishing ninth in the second race of the weekend in ninth position and improved on that by two places in the final race of the weekend to claim twelfth overall for the round. However his 30 point lead over Kelly has now become a 73 point deficit heading to the next meeting in Bahrain. “I am pretty happy with the results I achieved today particularly the first race where I started from the back of the grid in wet conditions,” he said. “We did the best we could with the cards we were dealt from Saturday and focused on minimising the gap to Rick as much as possible. “There are still six more races before the championship is decided and I will be focusing on making sure we remain competitive throughout.”

Jamie Whincup suffered what he described as ‘the biggest hit of my career’ at Symmons Plains in an accident that left the Team Betta Electrical Bathurst winning Falcon severely damaged. Whincup took over the Bathurst winner after team-mate Craig Lowndes switched to a newly built Falcon for the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge and qualified in tenth place for the opening race on Saturday. However his weekend would soon come to an abrupt end when, having made a clean start, he was tapped from the rear into a spin that saw him make heavy contact with the wall, substantially damaging the #88 Falcon and putting him out of the rest of the weekend. “I am very disappointed,” Whincup said after Saturday’s race. “The car has some substantial structural damage and we won’t be able to fix it in time for tomorrow’s races. Advertisement [Go Advertisement Free] “I pride myself on looking after any car that I race so I am shattered at the state of our Bathurst winning car. That was without a doubt the biggest hit of my career.” While team-mate Craig Lowndes claimed two top ten finishes in races two and three, Whincup and his crew focused on preparing his old car in readiness for transportation to Bahrain for the penultimate round of the V8 Supercar Championship in ten days time. The damaged Bathurst winning chassis will be returned to the Brisbane based team’s headquarters for a complete evaluation with the severity of the damage dictating whether or not it races again this year.

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V8 Points R 11

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 13, 2006

willpower.jpg

 

Will Power Aussie Hero, (Champ Car, Gold Coast 2007

 

 

V8 Supercar Championship Pionts

After completion of Ferodo Tasmania Challenge , Symmons Plains Raceway, Round 11

Pos Driver Name Penalty Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Rd4 Rd5 Rd6 Rd7 Rd8 Rd9 Rd10 Rd11 Total
1 Rick Kelly 0 305 234 224 266 282 286 284 310 310 294 290 2,861
2 Craig Lowndes 0 160 268 282 302 304 288 314 300 320 223 187 2,788
3 Mark Winterbottom 0 125 296 268 250 252 244 228 320 0 300 306 2,589
4 Russell Ingall 0 250 290 250 172 240 272 188 60 290 259 217 2,428
5 Garth Tander 0 270 232 274 266 282 318 136 70 0 257 311 2,416
6 Jason Bright 0 130 198 132 278 216 294 146 320 0 274 310 2,298
7 Steven Richards 0 270 212 290 216 146 254 144 50 280 170 253 2,235
8 Todd Kelly 0 290 72 138 168 140 84 174 310 310 313 277 2,204
9 Steven Johnson 0 235 240 220 164 150 128 266 290 0 234 124 2,051
10 Jamie Whincup 0 310 164 202 190 180 212 166 300 320 120 0 2,000
11 James Courtney 0 0 230 140 96 162 180 266 240 300 213 160 1,987
12 Paul Dumbrell 0 240 224 198 262 180 144 118 50 280 70 253 1,969
13 Jason Bargwanna 0 110 168 158 100 184 90 196 260 230 233 173 1,812
14 Will Davison 0 195 130 158 116 156 168 150 290 0 163 240 1,766
15 Max Wilson 0 210 108 128 198 156 180 104 220 190 151 183 1,724
16 Jason Richards 0 115 138 208 188 270 150 180 30 0 190 207 1,676
17 Dean Canto 0 140 92 152 156 156 184 142 270 160 134 173 1,667
18 Cameron McConville 0 145 178 184 150 210 130 192 40 0 227 193 1,649
19 Paul Morris 0 190 212 112 24 86 162 102 250 270 83 110 1,577
20 Mark Skaife 0 0 312 286 264 246 136 104 70 0 67 57 1,542
21 John Bowe 0 165 64 80 136 140 108 140 280 220 117 140 1,526
22 Lee Holdsworth 0 125 158 114 186 102 112 200 270 160 73 104 1,502
23 Steve Owen 0 0 96 180 220 142 80 104 210 260 110 87 1,489
24 Brad Jones 0 65 104 82 132 84 134 164 280 220 166 60 1,426
25 Greg Murphy 0 140 108 192 96 160 212 172 40 0 160 0 1,280
26 Paul Radisich 0 155 124 134 120 172 224 106 200 0 1,235
27 Andrew Jones 0 150 130 164 104 146 138 128 30 0 23 110 1,123
28 Warren Luff 0 165 86 78 98 90 94 104 100 0 30 113 958
29 Marcus Marshall 0 45 80 48 68 90 56 134 80 0 150 96 847
30 Steve Ellery 0 60 74 250 270 594
31 Jose Fernandez 0 100 74 50 94 110 170 0 548
32 Fabian Coulthard 0 86 84 108 200 0 478
33 Alan Gurr 0 115 112 140 0 90 457
34 Tony Ricciardello 0 28 48 110 170 70 398
35 Glenn Seton 0 240 300 300
36 Luke Youlden 0 60 290 290
37 Craig Baird 0 260 230 27 287
38 Tony Longhurst 0 210 260 260
39 Nathan Pretty 0 230 250 250
40 Paul Weel 0 230 250 250
41 Alex Davison 0 190 240 240
42 Grant Denyer 0 190 240 240
43 Mark Porter 0 76 150 0 226
44 David Besnard 0 220 190 220
45 Richard Lyons 0 160 210 210
46 Allan Simonsen 0 160 210 210
47 Shane Price 0 90 0 113 203
48 Cameron McLean 0 180 200 200
49 Greg Ritter 0 130 200 200
50 Mathew Halliday 0 180 0 180
51 Owen Kelly 0 0 180 180
52 Mark Noske 0 0 180 180
53 Tony D’Alberto 0 170 0 170
54 Anthony Tratt 0 170 0 170
55 Dale Brede 0 150 0 150
56 Kayne Scott 0 140 0 140
57 Ryan Briscoe 0 120 0 120
58 Jim_Richards 0 120 0 120
59 Adam Macrow 0 100 0 100
60 Jack Perkins 0 90 0 90
61 Jonathon Webb 0 80 0 80
62 Phillip Scifleet 0 130 0
63 Michael Caruso 0 0 0
64 David Brabham 0 0  

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Craig Lownes appologises, cops fine and saves championship lead

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 11, 2006

Well the Saga of the Craig Lowndes comment is over! One of the nicest, friendliest and most competitive guys in possibly the worlds leading touring car series, finally did a back flip and stopped protecting his innocence and admitted to saying something stupid in the heat of the moment! From Carsguide.com.au;

craig-lownes.jpg

08 November 2006 THE following statement was made by Craig Lowndes.

“Following the inquiry I attended last week with the IPO, Peter Wollerman, in Melbourne, I today advised that I have had time to reflect on the matter and have entered a plea of guilty to the charge of having brought the Sport into disrepute. I also wish to further clarify my position regarding the comments which I made to the media after race three at Surfers Paradise.”

“I recognise that some of the comments that I made were inappropriate, and I therefore now apologise unreservedly to the Stewards and the Officials of the Meeting for any offense that I caused. I do not believe that the Stewards and Officials act in anything other than a manner that is fair, unbiased and in the best interests of the Sport and they have my complete support in their execution of a difficult and often thankless task.”

“My comments were made in the heat of the moment, but I recognise that is no excuse. At no time have I believed that V8 Supercars or any of the Officials that assist us in our championship are trying to manipulate the outcome of the series and I am truly sorry if I have given any of them, or our fans, any other impression. The V8 Supercar Series is the best Touring Car Championship in the world, and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to compete within it. Without the unstinting work – on a voluntary basis – of the Stewards, plus the continuing efforts of V8 Supercars Australia and the Officials, we would not have the series we have today.”

And as a result he has avoided an embarrassing hearing yesterday which certainly would have cost him most of his points lead. Carsguide.com.au also covered the penalty:

November 2006 Ray Kershler

“CRAIG Lowndes’ defiance melted away yesterday and a humble apology to stewards has averted any further erosion of his lead in the V8 Supercar championship. Lowndes was fined $15,000 yesterday for irate comments he made after twin penalties at the Indy meeting last month.”

They Further Explained the situation leading up to these events:

“He had seen a 101-point championship lead reduced to just 30 after Indy and responded unwisely to reporters’ questions about the stewards’ penalties. Lowndes left open the interpretation that the stewards’ decisions had had the effect of ensuring a close finish in this year’s championship. “

“While he clarified his statements the next day, saying he never meant stewards were trying to manipulate the championship, he was charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. After an initial hearing last week before the sport’s prosecuting officer, Peter Wollerman, Lowndes decided to fight the charge.”

“However yesterday, with a further points penalty possible, Lowndes changed his mind and pleaded guilty. He repeated the clarification of his comments but this time the statement also came with a full-blown apology. “I recognise some of the comments I made were inappropriate and I therefore apologise unreservedly to the stewards and officials for any offence I caused,” he said. Of the total $15,000 fine, $5000 was suspended and with no points penalty Lowndes takes his lead into the Tasmanian round of the championship this weekend. The races at Launceston, ahead of the international round in Bahrain and the season-ending Phillip Island round, will decide this year’s V8 Supercar champion. Lowndes’ main rival is Holden driver Rick Kelly although Ford driver Mark Winterbottom also harbours some aspirations from third place.”

I will post the results from the weekend, after the round tomorrow.

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