Sat. May 28th, 2022

The battle between Ford and Holden is poised to become Ford against Chevrolet in Australia, with the 2023 V8 Supercars racing machines unveiled ahead of the Bathurst 1000 this weekend.

The 2023 Ford Mustang and 2023 Chevrolet Camaro race cars – designed to revive Australia’s V8 Supercars championship after the end of the Ford-versus-Holden era – have been unveiled ahead of this weekend’s Bathurst 1000.

Bathurst 1000 has been postponed from October to December this year due to COVID lockdowns across Australia and both new race cars will not run for racing until the 2023 V8 Supercars season.

However, they will be on the field next year for pre-season testing.

The arrival of the new generation of Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro racing machines marks a long-awaited update of the series and will bring the cars closer to their show versions.

The Ford Mustang, currently online, had to reshape its body into roughly the same silhouette as the previous Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore sedan racing cars to meet local regulations.

The result was a Ford Mustang race car with a much higher roof than the road car.

Pit-lane talk described the current Ford Mustang race car as resembling “an ice car” because of its more upright proportions.

Ford was not allowed to use the Mustang’s sleek roofline, as it would have provided an aerodynamic advantage at high speeds.

The new rules have been formulated to enable sleek, coupe-like vehicles to compete on equal terms in the renewed V8 Supercars series.

This means that the “Gen 3” vehicles (third generation V8 Supercars design rules) will look more like their showroom equivalents, at least on the outside.

Under the skin, they are still custom-built race cars that are not much in common with their cousins ​​with road cars.

In a bitter irony, the new generation of Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro V8 Supercars will debut in the racing season 2023 – at about the same time as these models disappear from the showrooms.

The Chevrolet Camaro was converted locally from left- to right-hand drive and sold by Holden Special Vehicles from 2018 to 2020, but the model was withdrawn from sale with HSV’s demise and in the middle of a weaker-than-expected sale.

The Ford Mustang in showrooms today is to be replaced by a new model – and will continue to be sold in Australia – but reports from the US claim that Chevrolet is planning to put the Camaro on pause in the middle of a weak muscle car sale in North America.

It is unclear whether the V8 Supercars series will continue to drive these obsolete vehicles after 2023, or whether Ford will reshape its race cars to look like the next Mustang – leaving Chevrolet to continue with its soon-to-be-discontinued form.

The V8 Supercars series pitches the new Ford-versus-Chevrolet series as a return to its historic roots – before the Ford-versus-Holden era.

“Fifty years ago, in 1971, tire magnate Bob Jane used an imported Camaro to claim the Australian Touring Car Championship in an epic shooter with Allan Moffat’s Ford Mustang at Oran Park in Sydney,” said General Motors.

“(Bob) Jane and the Camaro, also wearing the classic ZL1 emblem, did the job again in 1972, when touring car fans were treated to some of the most intense and exciting racing in the history of Australian motorsport.”

The organizers of the series claim that the new rules will “revive the classic battle with the same brands and badges, but with a new generation of star drivers at the wheel.”

Joshua Dowling

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years and spent most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as a motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive at the end of 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.

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