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John Bowe: Fairy Tales and Catastrophes at Clipsal 500

04/03/2014

Having spent the past week in Adelaide I would firstly like to congratulate everyone involved in the Clipsal 500 Adelaide event – it was simply outstanding. It truly was a World Motorsport Showpiece!

Holden must be feeling blessed, winning all the races under intense opposition. Personally, I love the fact Nissan, Mercedes and particularly Volvo can now legitimately take the fight up to the best of the Holdens – while poor old Ford seems to have been a bit left behind.

If there’s such a thing as a motor racing ‘Fairy Tale’ we’ve just seen one created by Garry Rogers and his Swedish colleagues. The Volvo engine is certainly the thing that shocked me the most, it was well and truly the equal of the best out there and the aero performance has reset the bar.

I’d like to think I have a pretty good eye and a solid understanding of the business. Let me share a little fact in relation to aero to help you understand how important it is and the role aero plays in performance and results.

Turn eight is the fastest corner on the circuit. Scott McLaughlin was one-tenth of a second quicker through (that sector) than Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup. Why? He has a better aero package at that section of that track – that’s it. That’s the difference, but it’s hard to see, unless you know what to look for.

Volvo and GRM have done a very good job, I can assure you of that! You add young Scotty McLaughlin to the blend and you have true race winning potential and a legitimate championship challenger.

Like most other sports in the world the average age of the participants is coming down and with Scott, Nick Percat, Chaz Mostert and Scotty Pye all real talented youngsters who form the future; and it’s very exciting.

What can I say about The Red Bulls, except that their standard continues to go up! Man they are an impressive operation, and they are clearly still THE team to beat.

This makes the effort of James Courtney and Walkinshaw Racing all the more outstanding. In Saturdays mini races they didn’t look like winners to me, what a difference a day makes! James’ drive showed commitment, smarts and speed. On the longer run (Sunday) his tyre degradation was very low. I thought running four cars would hold them back, it appears not to have at this early stage. They were undoubtedly helped by Jamie’s woes, about which the less said the better.

Sadly, some key players were removed from the game by Brighty’s crash, which was created by the new restart procedure.

No team can afford this type of damage, it was a million dollar crash! I was very impressed with the decisions made by Jason Bargwanna as the Drivers’ Sheriff. He’s ideal for the job in my view, a tough little racer himself who won’t be intimidated by anyone.

I’m really looking forward to the best V8Supercar season ever, with great excitement! But can I suggest that next year we go back to a single 250km race (on Saturday, please), maybe hold it at night (under lights) if you want to spice it up! Now, that would be something special!

Cheers,

JB

Follow John Bowe on Facebook. Bowe is supported by Wilson Security, Dunlop Super Dealers and Coates Hire, and competing in the 2014 Touring Car Masters Championship.

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