Clipsal Welcome

The 14th Annual Clipsal 500 Race in Adelaide Australia started out on Wet Wednesday with the downtown/residential street circuit unexpectedly deluged with rain. Despite the mud and muck, the course was set up and good to go on time for Thursday’s opening day. .

The 2012 Clipsal 500 will be a hard act to follow: last year’s race meeting was the eighth time the Australian V8 race was judged the best of the V8 season. The race is the only event inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame.

Thursday turned out to be dry, sunny and warm at times, and somewhat breezy. The V8’s were still in preparation mode for their first of three track days starting Friday.

But, there was no lack of Thursday activity on the 3.22 km/2-mile (modified) Formula One circuit. All seven of the support series took to the track and between their sessions were various Demonstrations and exhibition, for a very long ten and a half-hour day. The Aussies are serious petrol heads.

The widely varied slate includes: Auto One V8 Ute Series, Touring Car Masters presented by Autobarn, Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, V8 Development Series, Australian GT Championship, FW1 Aussie Racing Cars, and Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia.

Christian Brothers College

Among the 40,700 fans Thursday were lots of school kids, especially invited for the day. The nearby Christian Brothers College borders on Turn Four, and on the roof all the lads were lined up for primo seats.

There are 28 V8 Supercars drivers entered for the weekend, with a Qualifying Race, the Top Ten Shoot Out, and two weekend races – Rounds One and Two of the 2012 session. JAMIE WINCUP, the 2011 V8 Champion, is again running the familiar red No.1 Team Vodafone Holden, with teammate CRAIG LOWNDES in No.888.

The Series had 29 available franchise licenses for driver/teams, but two years ago the Series bought back the 29th license (A Ford Falcon), meaning that last year and this the field is permanently capped at 28 cars and the field is full. Drivers/Teams have to run all races on the 2012 schedule. As of now, the schedule lists 16 events, although one weekend in November is TBA. Fourteen of the race meetings are for championship points. The glitzy glamour weekend as part of the Australian Grand Prix two weeks from now in Melbourne do not count for points.

David Malone & Tony Cochrane
David Malone & Tony Cochrane Photo by Lynne Huntting

The idea behind the V8 Series owning the last franchise was for the opportunity to field a car as a wild card entry, similar to Promoter’s Option in the US – not widely used any more. The past two years it had been hoped MARCOS AMBROSE could be the driver at the season’s December finale at Homebush in Sydney. Ambrose is currently running NASCAR Sprint Cup with Richard Petty Racing, and it’s season ends in November. However, it never worked out.

DAVID MALONE is the new V8 Series CEO, and TONY COCHRANE continues in his role as Chairman.

The V8 Series Board determines whom, if anyone, will drive that car, and money is not the deciding factor. It’s more of justifying the value to the category and the particular venue. For Bathurst, there are two available rides. The V8 Series Board consists of Cochrane, four V8 team owners, and two shareholders.

Thursday’s attendance was 40,700, less than last year’s 41,800, The best Thursday was 2008 with 44,200.

Except where otherwise noted, all photos are provided by Ron Searle

Last Modified on March 3, 2012
This entry was posted in V8's
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