It’s 22 years since a certain twin-turbocharged I6 Nissan dubbed ‘Godzilla’ monstered Ford and Holden rivals for the last time.
The local manufacturers weren’t happy, and neither were most of the fans (though of course Jim Richards notoriously let them know his thoughts on their views).
It proved to be a marketing masterstroke, of course – providing the adrenaline-fuelled backdrop to the intense showroom showdown between the Falcon and Commodore.
The era of large cars dominating the Australian sales charts is long gone now, though, and it’s years since winning on Sunday equated to selling on Monday.
And those large cars will be gone altogether by 2017 once local production stops and medium cars take their place: Mondeo for Falcon and (as we’re expecting) Insignia for Commodore.
V8 Supercars has seen the writing on the Armco, and introducing the Car of the Future regulations to entice the likes of Volvo, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz – sorry, Erebus – into the 2013 and 2014 series was a first key step to future-proofing the championship.
This week’s anticipated announcement of a rebranding and rethinking for the sport was inevitable and necessary – to reflect the modern Australian motoring landscape where V8-powered cars are merely a popular minority.
The V8 in V8 Supercars will be removed from 2017, allowing turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines as an alternative to eight-cylinders as another big incentive for other manufacturers to consider the marketing merits of linking an excitingly diverse on-track battle with their road-going products.
Volvo, which has been a revelation in this year’s series through jandal-pressing Kiwi steerer Scott McLaughlin, might even find it more relevant considering the Swedish brand is moving its entire vehicle fleet to four-cylinder engines.
As with Formula One’s switch from V8s to turbo V6s, which has encouraged Honda to make a welcome return, the move could encourage even the likes of BMW (with its all-turbo line-up) to enter.
Imagine a BMW M4 – coupe body styles will also be permitted – mixing it up with V8-powered sedans. Or how about Renault racing with its new four-cylinder turbo Alpine sports car that will be sold in Australia? Alfa Romeo and its 4C? The possibilities make a long list, and that’s no bad thing.
The Supercars entrants will still have to conform to strict guidelines, though – it won’t be a production car series.
The series still won’t be as pure as Formula One, though for many Australian motorsport fans that could well be viewed as a bonus. And where the current F1 cars have been criticised for being too quiet, V8 Supercars boss James Warburton has promised Supercars racing will continue to be “fast, loud and fierce”.
So Supercars entrants will have to use the current Car of the Future chassis and control components introduced in 2013, and engines and aerodynamics will have to adhere to parity rules – in the name of keeping the racing closer.
They’ll also have to be rear-wheel drive, so that means no return for the Nissan GT-R. As#$@*es.