Scary sign Supercars has lost its soul as Bathurst arrives

As Australia’s great race is about to get underway, the inescapable winds of change have already hit the sport with the last big domino about to fall.

While Holden is owned by US behemoth General Motors and has been manufactured offshore since 2017, the announcement came down earlier this year that the iconic brand would cease to exist.

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The move in February, that the brand was going to be retired by 2021, shocked the Australian motorsport industry and was the death knell of the Ford vs Holden rivalry.

General Motors even went so far as to announce it would no longer make cars suitable for Australian roads, leaving right hand drive markets which is expected to cost the company “north of $US1 billion ($A1.5b)”.

While other manufacturers have been involved for various lengths of time in the sport, no rivalry comes close to the one Holden and Ford have built.

But that will end after next season with the Holden brands unveiling a new car.

After months of negotiations, the Camaro will join the grid for the 2022 season, after the Commodore’s final victory lap in 2021.

Supercars’ Gen3 Red Bull Camaro.Source:Supplied

“We are thrilled to welcome a brand new race car design to the track in 2022,” Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said when the car was announced.

“The cars will retain their signature V8 engine format to ensure they’re fast and loud, but will be ‘hybrid ready’ and more closely resemble the road cars they are based on.

“These are incredible looking race cars that give a nod to the Supercar of the past, with as much attention given to the design and appearance of the cars as the new technologies.

“The Gen3 project will support the longevity of Supercars by increasing relevance to our fans and partners, reducing operating costs, and making the racing even fiercer.”

While it’s a good compromise for the Camaro to take on the dominant Mustangs, social media has seen plenty of people commiserating over the end of the great Aussie racers.

Following the announcement of the Camaro coming in, one comment said: “Australian supercars where Kiwis dominate and we race American cars”.

In recent years in particular, this has been the case, with New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin almost unbeatable with three straight championships, having just narrowly lost the 2017 title after melting down in the final race.

His teammate Fabian Coulthard is a British-born Kiwi as well, while Red Bull Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen is also a countryman and one of his fiercest rivals.

Jamie Whincup has been giving Scott McLaughlin a run for his money.Source:Getty Images

In fact, of the five New Zealanders on the grid, three are in the top seven ahead of Bathurst.

The iconic Falcon was retired after the 2018 Supercars season and replaced by the quintessentially American Mustang.

When the announcement came down that Holden would need to withdraw from the sport, Supercars legend Mark Skaife lamented the loss of the rivalry that had driven Australian motorsport for decades.

“The history of touring cars, going back 60 years, has been built on it (the Ford Vs Holden rivalry),” Skaife said.

“It becomes incumbent on us to seek more manufacturer involvement and reflect more the marketplace.

“If Holden is not here, in the best interests of local motorsport, we have to make sure that fans are still energised and want to come to events and watch it on TV.

“We can’t as a business have a policy of putting up the white flag because Holden have moved out of town.”

The namesake of Garry Rogers Motorsport, veteran team boss Garry Rogers, even called for the pool of manufacturers to be opened up.

“I think Supercars will survive but there is no doubt that the Ford vs Holden rivalry has been struggling,” Rogers said earlier in the year.

“If you go back to when Bathurst started we had all sorts of cars racing there, many different brands and types. We might probably move back to something like that.”

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