Last night I had the opportunity to watch the Australian V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 live for the first time because Speed decided to show it and the upcoming Gold Coast 600 live on TV here in the United States. For seasons I’ve watched highlight coverage during the winter on Speed or in more recent years delayed coverage (although the Bathurst delayed coverage would be highlighted not the entire race). A highlight show does not do this race justice; it was 6+ hours of intense, hard racing. Bathurst truly is among the world’s best races, right up there with my favorite the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Craig Lowndes last stint was one of the most impressive drives I’ve seen this race season. He carved through the field at speeds of .5 to 1 seconds faster than the leader after a race in which the car he shared with Mark Skaife was on the losing end of stacked pit stops and safety car periods. (for those not familiar- V8 Supercars don’t have separate pit boxes, if both cars come in they have to “stack” – one has to wait for the other to pit first prior to being serviced). The final two laps were intense, with Lowndes right on the back bumper of Garth Tander. Both drivers were driving the cars for everything they were worth and although the racing was hard it was also clean. I don’t think you could have asked for any better, it was edge of your seat excitement. Tander won the race only .292 seconds ahead of Lowndes, the closest margin of victory of in the race’s history! Could Speed have picked a better V8 Supercars race to show live for the first time!?
Australian V8 Supercars is some of the most exciting racing there is to be found. My NASCAR friends should definitely give it a look. In a sense, it reminds me of how NASCAR used to be. It’s something NASCAR should look at to pattern their future after. It is a great mix of stock car racing and technology. I wouldn’t think it would be terribly difficult to figure out a way to adapt the V8 Supercars model of racing to ovals.