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V8 Supercars – currently known as the Supercars Championship – is a touring car racing series based in Australia and held under FIA Regulations. The sport is different to Formula One, in that it focuses on four-door saloon cars rather than on high-power aerodynamic vehicles.
V8 Supercar races take place all over Australia, but races sometimes take place internationally. Currently there is one international race in New Zealand, but in the past there have been events in China, the UAE, and the United States. There is also a race slated to take place in Malaysia
Races take one of three forms: sprint races, varying between 100-200 kilometres in length, street races, which range between 125-250 kilometres, and two-day endurance races which range between 500-1000 kilometres.
Some of the most prestigious races are the Gold Coast 600, the Sandown 500, and the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
However, without a doubt the most well-known race of the series is the Bathurst 1000. Known as ‘The Great Race’, it is the longest on the V8 Supercar calendar, both in distance and in race time. It runs over 161 laps and 100 kilometres in total, and can take up to seven hours to complete.
Originally known as the Armstrong 500, it was first run as a standalone event in 1960, but since 1999 has been run exclusively for the V8 Supercars. It has previously attracted crowds as big as 200,000.
The winner of the race is awarded the Peter Brock Trophy, which was introduced following Brock’s death in 2006. A nine-time winner of the race, Brock is the most successful driver in its history, and remembered as one of racing’s most admirable and popular competitors.
Some of the most popular constructors of the V8 Supercars are Ford, Mercedes, Volva, Nissan and Holden. The current champion Jamie Whincup races with the team Triple Eight Race Engineering, who use the Holden VF Commodore.
The inaugural season was held in 1997, and Whincup currently leads all comers with the most series driver championships. However, teammate Craig Lowndes holds the lead for most races won, recently completing his 100th victory at the Skycity Triple Crown Darwin.
Six races are shown live on Network Ten every year with the other races shown on delay. All races are shown live on Fox Sports, including coverage of practice and qualifying sessions.