John Bowe: Is JC becoming the villain of V8 Supercars?
By John Bowe
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
I'm pleased to be back home having missed the first event I have been entered for in more than 40 years of racing. A big thanks to Stevie Johnson for holding the fort while I was away, he did an outstanding job in and out of the car.
The talk of Tassie was mostly about whether James Courtney was an innocent player in Will Davison's unfortunate first lap incident at the hairpin. While I didn't see the incident live I watched the Tassie round on Foxtel when I got home.
I've been asked plenty of times if I think James is becoming the new villain of V8 Supercars? My response simply is no, I don't think James is a villain but a very hard racer - be that good or bad.
The nature of the racing and the driver standards are very well defined and don't leave much room for mischief anymore, the lastvillain we had was probably Jason Bargwanna who is now doing a sterling job as the driver standards adjudicator!
What I do like to see though is the drivers saying what they think. James and Will Davo did just that, and it was refreshing to watch a bemused Courtney keeping calm.
I wonder how it would have gone down if the roles were reversed and James was backwards in the hairpin without any hope of a good result gone? That may well have been interesting.
After watching that go down I also think David Reynolds should have let Lowndes have it between the eyes for drilling him at the start of the last race. I'm not judging here but let's face it, these blokes aren't mates, with the odd exception, so why pretend that you like each other?
Shenanigans aside, this year's Championship is shaping up to be intense. Titles are won on solid results across the whole year, that's why Jamie is now leading. I have to say though; I'm really impressed with the Prodrive Racing Australia team and their cars.
I've been pretty critical of a four car operations ability to provide four competitive packages but thus far they (PRA) have been extra impressive. Maybe it can be Frosty's year; he genuinely deserves a Championship in his V8 career.
Isn't it ironic, as the Prodrive team push hard to engineer and develop the FG-X into a top race car - Ford (Motor Company) management continue to distance themselves from our sport. Go figure?
I've just spent the weekend in Adelaide at the Mustang Nationals event, I've never met a more passionate group ofBlue Oval lovers. At least half of them have ordered new Mustangs.
Motorsport is inspirational and aspirational, is anyone listening at Broadmeadows?
The other thing that puzzles me is why Mercedes-Benz Australia is not being more proactive, particularly now that Will is starting to forge his way towards the top. It's a fantastic sign for the Erebus guys who have had their development challenges along the way.
It is a no-brainer that MBA should be embracing the Erebus operation within their AMG driver programs (academy) they run throughout Australia.
In Will Davison and Ash Walsh they gave a couple of well groomed and articulate athletes.
To me it appears some car manufacturers just don't get the very direct synergy between our premier motor sport class and their customers? They would prefer to spend millions on press ads which is fast running out of rope!
On the other hand, Holden have never wavered in their support of motorsport for nearly fifty years. They've even started supporting a karting team racing - James Courtney branded Karts. That's commitment and belief in the motor sport world I say!
Volvo has also been fantastic for the sport and I really look forward to seeing the next iteration of their V8 Supercars. Sadly though, the start of the year for Wilson Security Volvo/ GRM has been anything but shiny. But that often happens after the meteoric rise they had last year.
They have the ingredients though, so a regroup and close assessment over this mini break is what's needed.
Just before I go, I want give a special mention to Andre Heimgartner (Super Black Racing), he qualified 7th and finished 8th in Sunday's 200k race on his first visit to Symmons Plains..
That's an impressive result for a rookie, who's just going about his business quietly - well done young fella!
I'm interested in your thoughts ...
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.