V8 Supercars: How contenders take on the mountain

By Ben Selby

Jamie Whincup's #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore. Photo / Getty Images
Jamie Whincup's #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore. Photo / Getty Images

There was Dick Johnson and that rock on the track in 1981, Allan Moffat and Colin Bond 1-2 in 1977, and Greg Murphy's "Lap of the Gods" in 2003 - events that make Bathurst the most talked about event in the V8 Supercars' calendar.

This year marked the start of the "Car of the Future" for V8 Supercars with the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama unveiling new cars and new technology.

But how different are the race cars from their showroom models? We break it down.
1. Holden Commodore VF SS

The Bathurst 1000 is a Holden backyard pastime. Drivers like Alan Grice, Garth Tander, Mark Skaife, Greg Murphy, Todd Kelly, and legends such as Jim Richards and the late Peter Brock, have all tasted victory on the mountain behind the wheel of a Torana or a Commodore.

This year, the VF Commodore will be used by HRT (Holden Racing Team) and Red Bull Racing.

Road car specs:

Engine: 6-litre Holden 90 degree OHV V8,

Power: 270kW/530Nm

Transmission: Six-speed-manual/automatic

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel-drive

Suspension front: Sports suspension

Suspension rear: Sports suspension

Brakes front: Performance vented discs

Brakes rear: Standard vented discs

Wheels: 18 inch alloy

Weight: 1780kg

Top Speed: 250km/h limited

Zero to 100km/h: 5.4 seconds

Race car specs:

Jamie Whincup's #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore. Photo / Getty Images
Jamie Whincup's #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore. Photo / Getty Images

Engine: 5-litre Holden V8 with 308 cast iron block and CNC aluminum heads

Power: 495kW

Transmission: Albins ST6 six speed sequential

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel-drive

Suspension front: Double wishbone with coil over dampers

Suspension rear: Fully independent rear suspension

Brakes front: AP Racing 395mm vented with six piston caliper

Brakes rear: AP Racing 335mm vented with four piston caliper

Wheels: 18 inch aluminum multi spoke wheel.

Weight: 1350kg

Top Speed: 298km/h

Zero to 100km/h: 3.6 seconds

2. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo FG

Ford fans will be out in force to support the Falcon after Ford Australia decided to pull the plug on Falcon production at the end of 2016. It will mark the end of one of the most evocative battles in motoring, Ford v Holden. However, teams like FPR (Ford Performance Racing) will be fighting tooth and nail to place victory in the blue camp.

Road car specs:

Engine: Turbocharged 4-litre Ford V6, 270kW/533Nm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic with sequential sports shift

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel-drive

Suspension front: Sports suspension

Suspension rear: Sports suspension

Brakes front: Performance vented discs

Brakes rear: Standard solid discs

Wheels: 19-inch alloy

Weight: 1733kg

Top Speed: 240km/h

Zero to 100km/h: 5.5 seconds

Mark Winterbottom's PepsiMax Falcon. Photo / Edge Photographics
Mark Winterbottom's PepsiMax Falcon. Photo / Edge Photographics

Race car specs:

Engine: 5-litre Ford V8 with SVO cylinder iron block and aluminium heads.

Transmission: Albins ST6 six-speed sequential

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel-drive

Suspension front: Double wishbone with coil over dampers

Suspension rear: Designed control independent rear suspension

Brakes front: AP 395mm V8 Supercar control rotors

Brakes rear: AP 335mm V8 Supercar control rotors

Wheels: 18x12-inch aluminium control wheel

Weight: 1400kg

Top Speed: 294km/h+

Zero to 100km/h: 3.8 seconds

3. Nissan Altima

Nissan is back to contest the mountain, though this time Godzilla is left at home and instead it's the Altima. The almighty GTRs, as driven by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife, were victorious in 1991 and 1992. This year, the Altima, driven by James Moffat, won at Winton.

Road car specs:

Engine: 2.5-litre four cylinder, 135kW/244Nm

Transmission: CVT Automatic

Drive train: Front-wheel-drive

Suspension front: Independent front suspension

Suspension rear: Multi-link independent rear suspension

Brakes front: Factory 297mm vented disc

Brakes rear: Factory 292mm rear discs

Wheels: 16 inch steel with covers

Weight: 1443kg

Top Speed: 190km/h

Zero to 100km/h: 7.7 seconds

James Moffat drives his Nissan Altima to victory at Winton. Photo / Edge Photographics
James Moffat drives his Nissan Altima to victory at Winton. Photo / Edge Photographics

Race car specs

Engine: Nissan 5-litre V8 built to V8 Supercar specification, 498kW/658Nm

Transmission: Six speed sequential gearbox

Drivetrain: Rear wheel drive

Suspension front: Fully adjustable double wishbone

Suspension rear: Fully adjustable independent double wishbone

Brakes front: AP Racing 395mm vented and groved rotors

Brakes rear: AP Racing four pot aluminum mono brake caliper

Wheels: 18 inch multi-spoke alloys

Weight: 1350kg

Top Speed: 298km/h

Zero to 100km/h: 3.6

4. Mercedes E63S AMG

The Erebus Motorsport private team, owned by Westfield heiress Betty Klimenko, came into their inaugural V8 Supercar season with great expectations. While this year has not seen any podiums for the team, Bathurst may prove a different story.

Road car specs

Engine: AMG 6.3-litre bi-turbo V8

Power: 430kw/800Nm

Transmission: Seven-speed MCT sports transmission

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel-drive

Suspension front: Multi link suspension

Suspension rear: Multi link independent rear suspension

Brakes front: Carbon ceramic with 15.8 inch rotors

Brakes rear: Carbon ceramic rear

Wheels: 18 inch multi spoke alloy

Weight: 2390kg

Top speed: 300km/h limited

Zero to 100km/h: 3.6 seconds

Lee Holdsworth driving the #4 Irwin Racing Mercedes hits the curb during a practice. Photo / Getty Images
Lee Holdsworth driving the #4 Irwin Racing Mercedes hits the curb during a practice. Photo / Getty Images

Race car specs

Engine: Mercedes M159, 5-litre V8 built to V8 Supercar specification

Power: 497kW/650Nm

Transmission: Six-speed sequential rear mounted

Drivetrain: Rear wheel drive

Suspension front: Double A arm

Suspension rear: Independent rear

Brakes front: AP Racing 395mm vented with six piston caliper

Brakes rear: AP Racing 335mm vented with four piston caliper

Wheels: 18 inch aluminium alloy

Weight: 1410kg including driver

Top speed: 292km/h

Zero to 100km/h 3.4 seconds

Next year: Volvo S60

After the return of Nissan and the introduction of Mercedes AMG, an announcement came from Volvo Australia in June to contest the V8 Supercar championship, with Garry Rogers Motorsport swapping their Commodores for a couple of factory backed, race-prepared S60 Saloons.

- NZ Herald

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