COMMODORE: Looking forward, reflecting backward
THE COMMODORE nameplate is one year closer to the end in its life racing in Supercars and the Australian Touring Car Championship. We sent young-gun Journo JORDAN ZOCH down memory lane to reflect on the brands’ enormous impact on the sport.
The final round of the Supercars season saw the travelling circus take a trip to Australia’s most famous circuit Mount Panorama, for the Repco Bathurst 1000.
Sunday’s race added another page to the storied Ford vs Holden rivalry that has gripped the nation throughout the years.
Supercars also provided a look into the future, with the reveal of two Gen3 prototypes at Bathurst.
Friday’s announcement pulled the covers on what we can expect to see come 2023, giving fans a look at the reworked Ford Mustang and new for 2023, the General Motors (GM) Chevrolet Camaro.
The prototype cars, designed by Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering resemble more closely the road cars that they are based off, a change from the current lack of connection shared between cars.
As GM retire the Holden branding and transition from the current Commodore to Camaro chassis, we have been given an insight into the future of Supercars racing.
These new Camaro entries badged with Chevrolet logos will mark a new era for Supercars and GM.
With the gradual decline and disappearance of Holden from Australia and the Supercars series, the current ZB Commodore provides a connection to the storied and successful past Holden have had running in the Supercars and Australian Touring Car Championship.
Another win on the Mountain on Sunday afternoon added another chapter to what is a remarkable record book for the nameplate.
While we still have one more year to savour the Commodore, the impending rule changes also offer a chance to look back on some of the dominance Commodore entries have had at Bathurst.
The dominance Commodore powered vehicles have had over the years can be highlighted by the fact that the top four positions on the all-time wins by model list are occupied Holden Commodore models, with the current ZB Commodore sitting in 4th place with 60 wins.
Including the one steered by current titleholder Shane Van Gisbergen, Commodore entries have won the Bathurst 1000 a mammoth 15 times since 2000 and a further 12 times prior to that; going back to its first victory in 1980, a VC Commodore piloted by legends Peter Brock and Jim Richards.
Brock would go on to win a further four Bathurst 1000 races during the 80’s all behind the wheel of a Commodore.
The unrivalled success the model has held over the competition is evidenced by their continually consistent performances and achievements.
Cars like Jamie Whincup’s VE/VE II Commodore powering him to 28 race wins across its 2010-12 use, and Mark Skaife’s VX/VY Commodore being one of only two cars to win Bathurst twice (Peter Brock’s VH Commodore being the other), only further emphasise the extent of Commodore dominance.
Who could forget Bathurst 2003, Greg Murphy’s ‘lap of the gods’ a jaw dropping 2m06-second qualifying lap time leaving then record qualifying time set by John Bowe in his wake by a massive 1.096 seconds.
The effort of Murphy during that qualifying session still sends shivers around the Supercars fraternity to this day, such was the magnitude of the effort and occasion.
As replays of the fete reverberate over the years the sight of Murphy’s VY Commodore barrelling down Conrod Straight and whipping around Murray’s corner to the line has become synonymous with the sport.
He did back up the superhuman qualifying efforts with the race win the very next day.
Champions like Lowndes, Skaife, Perkins and Whincup have all stood atop the podium at Bathurst after having steered their Commodore entries across the line.
The brand ‘Commodore’ bight be on the way out, however now is not a time for sadness; with the future of Supercars secured, fans and the industry alike can spend next year appreciating the Commodore and everything it has done for the sport.
Before the final chequered flag in 2022 draws to a close on some of the most successful partnerships in Australian Motorsport history.