V8 Supercar News | The V8 Supercars photo doesn’t want you to see it
Behind the scenes, a war is brewing between the Repco Supercars Championship and the organizers of Turtle Wax Trans Am.
It’s been brewing for more than two years and now it’s finally come to a head.
To understand what drives a wedge between two sports gatekeepers, one only has to look as far back as the cars themselves.
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Trans Am is a low-cost, high-entertainment racing series with loud NASCAR-style machinery and plenty of door-to-door action. With grids constantly around 30 cars, it has plenty of appeal.
Like Supercars, it has the Ford Mustang. He also has the Chevrolet Camaro, a car that is set to join the Supercars grid soon in 2023 under new Gen3 regulations. A point of difference for Trans Am on Supercars is the Dodge Challenger.
Recently, the Trans Am series caught the eye of Bathurst 1000 winner Shane van Gisbergen.
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Earlier this year, the two-time Supercars champion sought to make his Trans Am debut at Mount Panorama, only to contract COVID-19 within days.
Although those plans were scuppered, there was talk of muzzling van Gisbergen and not telling the media about his Trans Am activities this weekend.
A scheduling conflict with the 24 Hours of Le Mans would prevent it from competing at Sydney Motorsport Park, but plans remained intact for the second half of 2022.
After a test at Queensland Raceway, his long-awaited competitive cameo at the same circuit was suddenly scratched amid “political pressure” from an unnamed source.
While his Triple Eight Race Engineering team claimed there was no outside influence, it is widely understood that Supercars management pressured the team to cancel the outing.
Simply put, Supercars didn’t think it was a good look for their championship leader to race in the de facto rival series.
Also keep in mind that van Gisbergen raced around the world racing sports cars and rally cars without any opposition.
Another Supercars star, Brodie Kostecki, is set to fill that Trans Am vacancy at the upcoming SpeedSeries round. However, there are even whispers that might not happen for the same reason.
Boost Mobile owner Peter Adderton, who sponsors Kostecki and teammate Will Brown in Supercars, has publicly said he would support the entry – although that is contingent on Erebus Motorsport’s approval.
The latest saga isn’t the first feud between Supercars and Trans Am, however.
Supercars’ first public act of hostility occurred two years ago at the Adelaide 500 when a photoshoot with two brothers, Brett and Lee Holdsworth, and their Trans Am Chevrolet Camaro and Supercars-spec Ford Mustang has been blocked.
Although Supercars shut it down, a cellphone photo (pictured at top of story) slipped out as Trans Am organizers pleaded their case.
“For the local newspaper and TV news, we pulled out Lee’s Ford Mustang and [Brett’s] Chevrolet Camaro Trans Am, put them on the front grill near the Adelaide Bridge and went to take a picture, ” Station Grant Rowley, Australian Racing Group podcast host and media manager, explained.
“The photoshoot was abruptly interrupted by someone from Supercars, who said ‘You can’t have these two cars next to each other!’
“Because at the time there was a lot of controversy about the Trans Am. Even just being at that event, the fact that those cars looked a lot alike.
“I don’t think Gen3 was launched at that time. We knew Gen3 was coming or some variation of Mustangs and Camaros or whatever.
“At that time there were a lot of sensitivities about Trans Am and this class and how it could be seen as a rival for Supercars. My big photo shoot plan was thwarted.”
Brett Holdsworth added: “You know what happened after that, right? Because I said to my team, ‘Dude, there’s no way I’m letting go. that without taking a picture.
“That little guy from Supercars, I don’t know who it was, but he was leaving. He was talking to you and someone else and I grabbed [my crew member] and I said to Lee, ‘Get back on the hood, we gotta take that picture!’ Dude, this is the most epic picture.”
It wasn’t until the 2021 Bathurst 1000, more than a year later, that Trans Am would once again feature on the Supercars support card.
Even it was only by force majeure when the Australian Racing Group, which had just acquired a stake in Supercars, had to close the calendar of its categories – thus merging the Bathurst 1000 events and the ill-fated Bathurst International events.
Via its stake in Racing Australia Consolidated Enterprises Ltd (RACE), the Australian Racing Group hoped Trans Am and its other categories would play a bigger role in the Supercars supporting roster.
This has not been the case and now the race promoter is seriously considering selling its share in the business unless attitudes within the RACE organization change.
Ultimately, RACE co-owner Barry Rogers wants a more inclusive holistic approach to Australian Racing Group categories, but he says his co-owners are only interested in Supercars.
It’s unclear if Kostecki will race Round 4 of Turtle Wax Trans Am as part of the SpeedSeries program, and if he doesn’t, it will only reaffirm suspicions that Supercars views the other V8 class as competition. .
Either way, a bumper grid of Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers are set to head to Queensland Raceway for round five of the season from August 5-7.
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