Five years of Speedcafe.com: Best cars

Speedcafe.com

Thursday 23rd October, 2014 - 4:00am

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The Volvo S60 has made a huge splash in its first year of V8 Supercars competition

The Volvo S60 has made a huge splash in its first year of V8 Supercars competition

As Speedcafe.com celebrates its fifth birthday, we look back at the best in Australian and international motorsport over the last half-decade.

Today we focus on the best competition cars both here and overseas, as selected by our editorial team.

Domestic

1) Triple Eight Holden Commodore VE V8 Supercar

After Ford ditched its support, Triple Eight set about switching to Holden for 2010.

Despite a time-challenged program, T8 made a stunning debut with its VE Commodore with Jamie Whincup leading home team-mate Craig Lowndes in the first race of the year at Yas Marina.

T8 would develop its VEs into the ultimate first-generation V8 Supercars, scoring two Bathurst victories (including the 2010 one-two) and two championships.

2) Volvo S60 V8 Supercar

After new-for-2013 players Nissan and Mercedes struggled in their first V8 Supercars season, Volvo’s Garry Rogers Motorsport run S60s hit the ground running in 2014, scoring a podium finish on debut in Adelaide.

With its strong Yamaha-sourced 4.4-litre B8444S engine and aggressive aerodynamic package, the S60 has scored race wins at Albert Park (non-championship), Perth and Sydney Motorsport Park.

McLaughlin led the early stages of what was to become a chaotic Bathurst 1000 and remained a major threat for victory until collecting the wall on lap 119.

3) Triple Eight Holden Commodore VF V8 Supercar

Although the advent of the Car of the Future tightened the engineering window for each of the V8 Supercars teams, Triple Eight managed to maintain its level of domination with its new VF Commodore.

Lowndes won with the car on debut in Adelaide before eventually finishing second behind team-mate Whincup in the championship standings after a season that included a combined 16 race wins.

Whincup currently leads the 2014 championship and Pirtek Enduro Cup with Triple Eight’s VF, taking a second consecutive Sandown 500 victory with the model in September.

4) Maranello Ferrari 458 GT3

The Melbourne-prepared Ferrari 458 became an instant Bathurst icon after being led to a thrilling victory in the 12 Hour by Craig Lowndes.

Sharing the drive with John Bowe, Mika Salo and Peter Edwards, Lowndes withstood a strong challenge from international GT3 teams including HTP, Phoenix, Nismo Works team and AF Corse.

The victory was made all the more special as the team dedicated the result to former driver Allan Simonsen, who died at Le Mans last year.

5) Ford Performance Racing Ford Falcon FG (COTF) V8 Supercar

After repeatedly coming up short against Holden’s leading squads in the previous generation cars, the move to the Car of the Future saw Ford Performance Racing take its maiden Bathurst victory in 2013.

Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards combined to take the landmark win; the first for a factory Ford at Bathurst since the 1970s.

Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris combined to make it back-to-back successes for the team at The Great Race earlier this month, while Winterbottom remains in strong contention for this year’s championship title.

Red Bull 2012 RB8

Red Bull 2012 RB8

International

1) Mercedes F1 WO5

Entering the technologically challenging hybrid era, Mercedes has been the tour de force from the start of the season with its W05 dominating the championship.

From the opening 16 races Mercedes has managed to crack 15 of the 16 pole positions with Nico Rosberg winning the prime starting spot eight times, one more than team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton has recorded eight wins as opposed to Rosberg’s four as the Mercedes outfit has come up with a superior package harnessing the 1.6 litre turbocharged engines and the MGUK and MGUH energy recovery systems.

2) Red Bull RB8 

Of Red Bull’s four championship winning Formula 1 cars, the RB8 of 2011 was undoubtedly the most dominant.

The car won 12 of the season’s 19 races, shared between eventual champion Sebastian Vettel (11) and third place finisher Mark Webber (1).

The car’s secret was its mastery of the blown diffuser concept, which channelled exhaust gases under the car to increase downforce.

3) Brawn BGP 001 

Brawn has a place in F1 history by being the only constructor to enter a world championship season and win at its only attempt.

Jenson Button and team-mate Rubens Barrichello won eight of the season’s 17 races, including six of the first seven, on the way to first and third respectively in the drivers’ title.

The car was designed and built by Brawn GP which was born following the withdrawal of Honda and used a Mercedes-Benz F0108W engine. The car stood out aerodynamically for its ‘double deck’ rear double diffuser, which caused great controversy early in the season.

4) Audi R18 etron quattro

In a significant moment in the storied passage of time at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro became the first hybrid car to win pole at La Sarthe in 2012.

Beating the previous year’s time by almost 2s, Andre Lotterer led an Audi Hybrid one-two on the front row.

Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer duly converted pole to a win in the classic with the diesel engine delivering power to the rear while an electric motor power the front axle.

5) Citroen C4 WRC 

From being developed in 2006 and based on a the road car which broke cover that year at the Paris Motor Show, the Citroen C4 would enjoy a lengthy run at the top of the rallying tree.

The C4 came in as a replacement for the Xsara which had supplied the incomparable Sebastien Loeb with the first three of his nine WRC crowns.

All told the C4 accounted for Loeb storming to another four championship wins in the WRC before the car was replaced by the current DS3 which gave the French ace a further two titles.

The C4 finished with an incredible tally of 36 individual WRC event wins, 30 seconds and 21 thirds.