Open Hatch

Monday 27th June, 2011 - 1:05pm


Courtney leads Bright across the line at Abu Dhabi

James Courtney leads Jason Bright across the line at Abu Dhabi

There has been quite some talk of late regarding which international destination V8 Supercars will head to next and if you buy into the paddock chat we could be heading to United States, Korea, Singapore or anywhere in between.

While the New Zealand event is considered international – and for good reason, because it is – it fails to compare with the starkly different lifestyle, climate and topography of the Abu Dhabi region and the glorious Yas Marina circuit. Although, as good as the Yas circuit is, it doesn’t truly convey the speed and dynamics of our V8 machines.

You only have to compare the visual differences between watching the cars at the Clipsal 500 event with that of the Yas Marina on-track action to see what I mean. The first event on Australian soil sees the cars bucking and bouncing their way around the Adelaide Parklands circuit and on television you would swear they were travelling at twice the speed when compared with the images beamed from the United Arab Emirates.

The World Touring Cars (pictured) and DTM compete at Brands Hatch

The World Touring Cars (pictured) and DTM compete at Brands Hatch

Regardless of where the V8 Supercars head next, this needs to be taken into consideration and even more so if we are going to take our show to locations possessing motor racing seasoned audiences. There has been little talk, that I’m aware of at least, about taking our 28-strong Aussie made road-show to the United Kingdom, but I genuinely believe this region could be a potential goldmine.

Can you imagine the reception our stars and cars would receive at say … Brands Hatch! There are thousands of expatriate Australians living in England and many are domiciled within shortish distance of the glorious Kent circuit. It would be motor racing’s version of the Ashes and I would imagine a combined BTCC/V8 Supercar double-header would draw a massive crowd. Heck, the V8 Supercars on their own would likely attract healthy numbers.

The Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit would suit the V8 Supercars perfectly. The barriers are close, the track has an older style hot-mix surface and the undulations help to make it one of the world’s greatest circuits, but perhaps most importantly, the spectator areas are within close proximity to the action. The final corner of the lap is strikingly similar to the final corner at Pukekohe and we all remember how exciting that was – in fact, the run to the start finish line almost mirrors the former NZ V8 Supercar venue.

I can just hear myself talking about the cars blasting off the slanted, uphill start line and thundering up to Paddock Hill Bend, before plummeting down Hailwood Hill then back uphill again to the tight right hander at Druids Bend. Fast track to the exit of Turn 4 and onto the long back straight dive down through Pilgrims Drop, with Whincup and Winterbottom side by side in a Holden versus Ford battle right in front of an educated and bi-partisan crowd … and at this point on the circuit we’re not even halfway around the lap.

You can call me old-fashioned, you can call me a dreamer, but I’ve been to Brands a number of times and genuinely think our cars would stun the crowds from the old dart, while at the same time attract an enormous amount of interest from Australian sporting nuts deprived of seeing some home grown V8 action taking place on foreign, and sometimes hostile, soil. All we need to do now is convince a promoter of the merit in taking a punt.

Over to you, Tony.

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