Posted Jan 25th 2012 1:00PM
Wherever you find General Motors and Ford going at it, Chrysler is seldom very far behind. Except in Australia. The Land Down Under has its own unique touring car championship in the form of its popular V8 Supercars series, but the only contestants these days are Ford (with its FPV Falcon) and GM subsidiary Holden (with its HSV Commodore). That, however, could change in the near future.
Word on the Aussie street is that Chrysler Group Australia is entertaining the possibility of jumping into the popular series, likely with a vehicle based (however loosely) on the 300. Because V8 Supercars teams – which budget around $10 million Cdn to run two cars for the season – are by regulation independent of any manufacturer, Chrysler would need to woo a few away from their current Ford or Holden partners, but several have reportedly approached the Pentastar automaker about the possibility.
The addition of a third manufacturer to challenge Ford and Holden would mirror a similar move made this season by BMW to challenge Audi and Mercedes-Benz (which was also rumoured to be considering a V8 Supercars entry) in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). Chrysler previously supplied the V8 Supercars series with the first-gen 300C SRT8, which serves as the pace car for several years.
According to Australia's The Age, SRT brand CEO Ralph Gilles reportedly likes the idea, but stopped short of committing to any impending program. The prospect, however, could be made more feasible by a new, more cost-effective "Car of the Future" being implemented in V8 Supercars, much as the "Car of Tomorrow" was in NASCAR and the "Next-Generation Touring Car" was in the British Touring Car Championship. Another plus is the expansion of the series outside of Australia to locations like India, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and the U.S. as a support race for the upcoming U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race in Austin, Texas.