I’ve been a long time fan of Supercars, back from the early 90’s — when it was known as the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) — I remember watching the likes of Peter Brock in his twilight years, Glen Seton, Alan Jones, Dick Johnson, Mark Skaife, Jim Richards, Neil Crompton, Larry Perkins and the list goes on.
I’ve got wonderful memories of going to Mallala raceway with my family. The noise was immense, the racing was fast and the drivers wore their hearts on their sleeves. When the category changes from ATCC, to the Australian branded Ford vs Holden the battle lines were drawn and the fans too, wore their hearts on their sleeves.
The last few years have shown some cracks in the armour of the business though. There have been too many times when “the umpire” has decided the race outcome, and if that’s not the case – due to fuel and tyres the drivers aren’t racing flat out – they’re racing to numbers to make sure they get to the end.
The telecast is getting stale
While I understand that they’re mainstays and they’ve been integral to the broadcast team, but heading the commentary team with a pair of former drivers who haven’t raced for years (Skaife for over a decade and Crompton over 20 years) is starting make their comments feel somewhat irrelevant.
Replacing at least one of them with a true ambassador of the sport like Craig Lowndes would do wonders for that issue.
There are potential owners waiting to race, but they can’t…
Outspoken owner of Boost Mobile and MobileX, Peter Adderton has a Triple 8 Camaro ready to race. The problem is that — I’m not across all of the politics — despite having a car and the funding, even offering at one point to forfeit any financial winnings from his entry, Adderton can’t obtain a Teams Racing Charter (formerly known as a REC) to enter the vehicle.
Boost Mobile's Peter Adderton has purchased a Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro from Triple Eight in a bid to enter Supercars in 2023. Should Supercars release a 26th Teams Racing Charter (TRC), he intends to field the car with Richie Stanaway as driver and Greg Murphy as team boss. #RepcoSC pic.twitter.com/Z3Qvh9SUCq
— SupercarXtra (@SupercarXtra) October 28, 2022
As I said, I’m not across (and doubt anyone outside of the closed door meetings truly is) across the politics but as a fan: Aren’t more cars on the grid, a good thing?
Talented drivers are leaving in record numbers
I’d love to have seen how the last couple of years (and the following two or three) would have shaped up with the likes of Scott McLaughlan, Shane Van Gisbergen and — rumoured at the time of publishing this article — Brodie “Bush” Kostecki racing each other. But sadly, McLaughlan has been lured but Indycar, SVG has followed him to the USA for a NASCAR deal and (with the backing of MobileX – a USA based MNVO) it looks more likely that Bush is gone too…
With other hugely talented drivers like Cam Waters spending a lot of time racing Speedway, and has openly spoken about the potential for a NASCAR stint in the future; it’s clear that Supercars has lost something if the top drivers are seeking other avenues of racing.
There’s still some great drivers and gentlemen in the field like Frosty, Mozzie, Reynolds, Courtney and Percat but some of them are probably approaching (or in) the twilight of their careers. Then you add in the pit lane names like Betty Klimenko, Barry Ryan, Brad Jones and Charlie Schwerkolt there’s a strong foundation for the sport but the category needs to have, and keep some big names with big personalities to keep the punters coming in the gates.
The costs to attend race meetings are huge for a family
In 2023, I chose not to attend the Valo Adelaide 500 for the first time in many years and it was purely a cost based decision. I understand that we have some special circumstances with my sons vision and associated mobility needs but it was going to work out to just shy of $1,000.00 — Grandstand reserve tickets — just to get in the gate for the weekend. When you add food, drink, parking and merch you’re not going to come home with much change from $1,800.00 and that’s not easy for families to afford.
I’d love to see a comeback for the bump and run, biff and barge and door rubbing come back. I’d love to see more emotion from the drivers instead of the political, well drilled “media” responses and I’d love to see the young blood continually injected into the sport. It needs to be fresh, it needs to be relevant to the changing audience and it needs to be exciting to spectators at the track and TV audience.
As a long time fan of Supercars, I feel like something has to change before it’s too late. Without that change, I fear that the once great Supercars series will simply fade into obscurity.