It would be great to see German cars in V8s

20 February 2012
, CarsGuide
It would be great to see German cars in V8s
2011 Bathurst 12 Hour, Audi R8 LMS #7 Craig Lowndes/Mark Eddy/Warren Luff

It's a great fit for Nissan to return to racing in the premier motorsport category in Australia after its years of dominance in the early 1990s with Godzilla. But I really think we need to get brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes involved. 

They have a tremendous racing heritage and it would give out sport a lot of international credibility. I'll be racing in an Audi R8 this weekend in the 12-hour at Bathurst and I hope that encourages some other manufacturers to come out here to at least have a look at V8 Supercars. 

Now that Nissan has announced it will rejoin the series in 2013 when the Car of the Future (COTF) race cars hit the track, everyone wants to know what will be the next manufacturer to sign up. 

There has been a lot of talk about Chrysler and hopefully Toyota which would be great, but I really want to see those German manufacturers involved. I've been racing with Audi these past couple of years and they have shown a lot of enthusiasm for motorsport in our country. 

No matter which manufacturers sign up, our fans can rest assured that the COTF project means the cars will be front-engined V8s with rear-wheel drive and a four-door saloon body shape. For the first time in my career I'm not contracted to any one car company. 

I'm happy to be racing a Holden again after several years in a Ford, but I would have no hesitation in driving another manufacturer's car, just so long as that's what TeamVodafone principal Roland Dane wanted. 

Meanwhile, my concentration is on the Bathurst 12-hour race this weekend. It would be great to carry my momentum through from last year's V8 season to this race and then continue on to the tough Clipsal round in Adelaide the following weekend. Once again, I'll be driving the R8 with Mark Eddy and Warren Luff who has been announced as my endurance partner for this year. 

This weekend's race gives Warren and me an extra opportunity to get some race time together. The R8 is a fantastic car and the seat time around Bathurst will be very helpful to us both, but it's actually quite a different car to drive from the Commodore. It's about two seconds slower on the straights but it's about two seconds faster across the top, so the lap times are similar. 

But that is where the similarity stops. We even sit on the wrong side of the car to drive. This is my first race for 2012 so I want to start on a high. My theme for this year is to "go one better'' after coming second twice at Bathurst last year and ending up the bridesmaid in the driver's championship. 

I also hope this year to branch out into some more racing. Who knows, you might even see me racing a motorcycle. Last year I jokingly asked Roland if he would mind me competing in the eight-hour superbike race at Phillip Island. 

He was a bit negative on that because it clashed with the V8 series. If it didn't, I'd certainly like to have a go, but that will be a long shot. I'd also like do the Australasian Safari again if we can find the budget. 

And I'm currently in the throes of talking with Audi about more Nurburg-style endurance racing in Europe, so I certainly have a lot on my plate for this year.