Motorsport: Supercars welcome new era

Holden's Jamie Whincup has an unassailable drivers' championship lead into the season's final races at Sydney Olympic Park. Photo / EDGE photographics
Holden's Jamie Whincup has an unassailable drivers' championship lead into the season's final races at Sydney Olympic Park. Photo / EDGE photographics

There's undeniable sentiment attached to the last head-to-head Holden versus Ford battle in Sydney this weekend, but leading V8 Supercar drivers are already excited about the new era starting next year.

One of Australian sport's fiercest rivalries will come to an end after 20 years at the season finale on Sunday, with the V8 championship expanding to include Nissan and Mercedes in 2013.

The end of the traditional two-manufacturer battle comes amid other big changes.

Former Qantas chief executive James Strong was yesterday named as the new V8 Supercars chairman, replacing long-serving Tony Cochrane, while twilight racing and an expanded schedule including more overseas races is set to highlight a new media rights deal to be announced next month.

But it's the end of the famous Red v Blue rivalry that has attracted the most discussion among motorsport fans after 566 championship races since 1993.

Holden's Jamie Whincup, who takes an unassailable drivers' championship lead into the season's final two 250km races at Sydney Olympic Park, was adamant that despite feeling some sadness there was a feeling the sport must keep evolving.

"It's definitely a good step," said Whincup.

"They [Nissan and Mercedes] will start quite low as far as their fan base and things go but they will develop. They'll run competitively.

"Good on them for having a crack.

"It's really cool that the category is keeping up with the times."

- AAP

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