Not Necessarily The End Of Ford In V8 Supercars

With today’s announcement that Ford Australia will cease official involvement in the International V8 Supercars Championship from the end of the 2015 season, there has been an outpouring of emotion and disappointment, particularly – (and understandably) – from Ford fans.

As a Holden fan, it might easy to celebrate the demise of the “old enemy” in the sport, but the fact is that isn’t how I am feeling about today’s events.

What is the point of having an “old enemy” in sport, unless you have the chance to go up against them from time to time, and defeat them? And sometimes be defeated by them?

Isn’t that one of the points of sport?

Can you imagine the AFL without Essendon versus Collingwood, or the NRL without Penrith versus Parramatta?

Supporters of each of these teams would probably get a kick out of seeing the demise of the others, but in the end you would just miss the chance to beat them and celebrate, or lose and start planning revenge for next time.

And if Ford disappeared from the championship, I for one would miss the chance to see a Holden team grind them into the dirt, race after race.

Or the chance to get shitty when a Ford beats a Holden.

That’s what makes it special.

The point everyone seems to be missing today is that Ford’s announcement does not mean there won’t be Fords running in the championship.

Come 12:01am on New Years Day 2016, the fleet of existing Ford racing chassis won’t suddenly stop working. Their internal combustion engines won’t suddenly seize up and start rusting.

They’ll work just the same, and any team who wants to keep running them will be able to keep running them for as long as the vehicles continue to meet the prevailing regulations of the category.

Will it be harder for Ford teams to work without official technical and/or financial support from the factory?

Of course it will be, but a smart and astute team – (and lets be honest, most of the current group of teams are some of the most professional racing teams in any category, anywhere in the world) – would see this as an opportunity to really adopt the Ford fans who are hurting tonight and loudly say:

“You know what? We don’t need Ford’s money to do this – we know what we’re doing – lets get money from someone else and make these Ford fans feel a whole lot better!”

And if I know Ford fans, they will get behind any team who bites that bullet – and so they should!

When General Motors officially removed itself from all motor racing activities worldwide in 1980, it didn’t kill NASCAR. It didn’t kill racing in Australia.

Holden’s most successful team at the time – (the Holden Dealer Team) – didn’t cry foul, pull up stumps and go home.

It put its nose down, developed a new funding model, and carried on its merry way – winning the ATCC championship that very same year, and winning 5 of the next 8 Bathurst 1000’s, including the 1980 race.

Today’s announcement does not have to be the end.

With the regulations in for a major shakeup in 2017, and production ceasing in 2016, the Ford Falcon certainly won’t last as the logical platform on which a Ford team might race beyond 2016 – but that doesn’t stop a team from moving to another model with the new regulations.

Do they pick up the Mustang? Or the Mondeo?

Who knows? But a team with the guts and determination to do it will pick up something a whole lot more valuable.

A very large group of very passionate fans.