Supercars retro round should inspire other motorsports

Jawad Yaqub Roar Guru

By , Jawad Yaqub is a Roar Guru

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    Themed rounds for sports may be just a novelty for some, but for most they are a welcome change of atmosphere and a distinctive look at the sports that we are used to in one form.

    Take the theme of ‘retro’, for example, which is quite popular. The celebration of certain pastimes and eras creates a sense of nostalgia and gives people of younger generations the chance to experience the culture that came before them.

    The Supercars championship in 2016 transformed the annual start to the Enduro Cup at the Sandown 500 into ‘retro round’ and has sought to continue the tradition for this year’s event.

    With Supercars being ensconced in rich history, the retro round is an apt celebration of the sport’s iconic past.

    From retro liveries on the cars competing in the 500-kilometre endurance race to historic car displays and fans dressing up in classic attire – you’d almost expect the television coverage to be presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

    An online fan vote determined the design of Chaz Mostert and Steve Owen’s #55 Supercheap Auto Racing car, with it being decided that the famous colours of 1999 would be resurrected by the retailer.

    “Retro round is a great concept and it is nice to be able to recognise a bit of Supercheap Auto’s 20-year history in the sport this weekend at the Sandown 500,” said Mostert about the selected livery for his car.

    “We ran one of their retro liveries last year, which was a lot of fun and got a great fan response, so hopefully the fans really like what we’ve got this year. John Briggs played a big role in Supercheap Auto’s entry to the sport so hopefully we can do him proud.”

    Similarly DJR Team Penske have celebrated 50 years with fuel giant Shell by reviving the logo that team owner Dick Johnson first used in 1967.

    Several of the Holden outfits have paid tribute to the marque’s successful history in Australian touring cars, with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team evoking memories of the original Holden Dealer Team and with Erebus Motorsport recreating the livery saw that saw Team Brock triumph at Sandown in 1976.

    A piece of Supercars history in his own right, Craig Lowndes once again sees his #888 Team Vortex Commodore bare the colours run by the successful Colin Bond in the 1980s.

    (Image: POLESTAR Volvo)

    While for the HSV Racing Team, their transformation on James Courtney and Jack Perkins’ #22 Commodore marks the tenth anniversary of former driver Garth Tander’s title triumph in 2007.

    Car #2 revives another of Peter Brock’s classic liveries, with Scott Pye and Warren Luff running the iconic blue and white colours from 1994.

    Nissan Motorsport, meanwhile, have utilised their international heritage to present one of their Sandown 500 challengers, with Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore’s #23 Altima taking the manufacturer’s famous ‘Calsonic’ livery on board.

    “Nissan has achieved a lot in global motorsport and there are so many great liveries to choose from,” said Caruso ahead of Sandown.

    “The Calsonic livery is one of Nissan’s most famous and perfectly represents its racing heritage.

    “The original Calsonic GT-R was so successful on the track. A perfect record is unheard of in motorsport, so this definitely elevates this car to legendary status.”

    The retro round isn’t only about reviving liveries on cars for a sense of nostalgia; it is an acknowledgement of a sport’s history that is highlighted through an event like this.

    The Nissan example illustrates how deep motorsport is internationally and, of course, the immense diversity across multiple categories.

    Formula One is a sport that ought to embrace a retro round. With such an illustrious past there would be an incredible wealth that could be resurrected and put on display for fans and viewers alike.

    Liberty Media, who are the new commercial rights holders for the premier open-wheel category, have clearly dictated their desire to increase the Formula One fan base, whether it is trackside or through viewing on a screen.

    Turning back the clock at a heritage venue such as Silverstone and with classic teams such as Ferrari, McLaren and Williams reviving some of their most inspiring liveries for the event would be such a sight for Formula One.

    Supercars’ effort for the Sandown 500 are one to be applauded. As tacky as some retro themes can be, it would be great for any and all sports to dedicate one small portion of their season to reviving retro.

    Time has seen an advancement in the technologies that go into motorsport, but it is great to see at the Sandown 500 that the spirit and sheer passion for racing from the past is well and truly alive.