ROAD vs RACE
In face value it seems a lopsided contest - take an example each of Holden and Ford V8 Supercars and compare them with their distantly related donor vehicles, in this case two cars apiece from Aussie performance maestros, FPV and HSV.
Not only are we talking purpose-built racing cars versus road cars - the latter designed with the inherent compromises required to ensure reliability while operating in a wide range of driving conditions - we've taken them to a race track for the exercise. In terms of home-ground advantage, it's like pitting a hamster against a racehorse at Flemington.
Of course, if all this test came down to was lap times and V8 thunder, then we could put down the glasses now, as the V8 Supercars have their road-based relatives well and truly covered on both fronts.
But, being a tad pointy headed, we wanted to dice the data more finely than a mere lap time. Which is how we found ourselves standing in the pit lane of Calder Park one fine morning, flanked by a half-dozen cars, two transporters and a bunch of helpers.
Among the scrum were two familiar faces in HRT's Garth Tander and FPR's Steve Richards, invited along to hammer out the hot laps in their respective race cars. Somewhere in a flight case nearby lay a data recorder that would soon earn its stripes logging lap times, corner speed, braking markers, braking forces and top speeds. There, too, was Wheels' trusty Vbox, destined to measure acceleration of 0-100km/h, standing 400 metres, and 80-120km/h, and,
this time, 120-160km/h.
We also asked the pro drivers to provide their subjective appraisal on the relative merits of all cars driven.
So, would it be the expected walkover by the purpose-built V8 Supercars, or would our data fest
burp up some surprises?