Skaife: Gen3 Supercars have GT-R "wow factor"

Mark Skaife says the new Gen3 Supercars have a "wow factor" similar to that of the mighty Nissan GT-Rs he raced in the 1990s.

Skaife: Gen3 Supercars have GT-R "wow factor"
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Supercars publicly unveiled its next-generation cars at last December's Bathurst 1000, the covers coming off the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro prototypes.

Proper testing is now underway ahead of Gen3's competitive debut at the opening round of the 2023 season.

The Gen3 cars mark a significant shift from the current hardware, with downforce slashed, a brand new control chassis better suited to two-door cars and a move to production-based V8 motors.

While the cars have been simplified in a number of ways, and are likely to be slighter lower in lap speed than their predecessors, Supercars legend Skaife reckons they will take the "wow factor" up a notch.

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Speaking to Autosport magazine for a recent feature on the Skyline GT-R, Skaife likened the Gen3 racers' ability to turn heads to that of Nissan's hero car from the 1990s.

The impact of the GT-R is something Skaife knows well; despite being best known as a Holden star, Skaife rose to prominence racing GT-Rs, winning the first of his five Australian Touring Car Championship titles in a Skyline in 1992 and back-to-back Bathurst 1000 crowns in 1991 and 1992 alongside Jim Richards.

"The first thing [Gen3] achieves is the thing that the GT-R achieved, so did the BMW M3, so did the Ford Sierra – it achieves wow factor," said Skaife.

"The first thing you've got to have is when that car rolls out, people say, 'wow!'.

"When those Gen3 cars rolled out at Bathurst, overwhelmingly [the reaction was] wow.

"It's not just the look, it's the road presence and the market relevance and the shape... but it's [also] the sound and what comes from that. There's lots of elements and layers to that. But overwhelmingly you've got to hit the wow button.

"There are lots of main streets in Australia but there are three I call 'the' main streets – Collins Street in Melbourne, Pitt Street in Sydney and Ann Street in Brisbane.

"If you ran a GT-R in 1992 down those main streets, at lunch time, the whole of the street would be full. Because the noise it made, the look of the car, the wow factor of the car had everyone out there.

"My analogy always is, it's like the fighter pilot demonstration above the car race versus [the aerobatic display team] The Roulettes, with 10 of them with their wings together.

"The 10 small planes with their wings together look really good, it looks tricky, difficult to do, but you don't go, 'wow'.

"But when the fighter pilot comes over the top, you go, 'oh my god, how did that happen?'. That's what these things do.

"Fast forward from the GT-R in Collins Street, Pitt Street, Ann Street – when we run the Mustang and the Camaro down those streets, you watch. It will blow people away.

"It already has. The reaction from Bathurst was extraordinary. The prime minister, arguably the most powerful man in the country, said, 'oh my god Skaifey, how good are they?'.

"When you have a reaction like that from the punters right through to the upper echelon of government, that's a pretty powerful thing."

Skaife will have a hands-on role in the new era of Supercars through his involvement with new category owner Racing Australia Consolidated Enterprises.

He will sit in the Supercars Board and oversee racing matters such as the new-look Supercars Commission.

 

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