You’ve built them

If John Key needs a sympathetic ear to talk about asset sales, then he might want to take the ministerial 7 Series to Motorsport New Zealand headquarters just five minutes up the road from the Beehive. Like the sale of Mighty River Power, the new NZV8 has proved to be somewhat unpopular with the general population. Maybe both parties would have been better to gauge actual pubic response before jumping headfirst into the costly process of preparing their respective projects for the market.

Both MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) and the New Zealand Government appear to remain steadfast in ignoring opposition to their proposals; the only difference is that if Mighty River hits the market, there will be no trouble finding buyers. But the same cannot be said for the new NZV8, which so far has proved about as popular in Aotearoa as nuclear power.

In what must be a huge emotional hit for the new NZV8 series, even its poster boy, Haydn Mackenzie, is set to drive in the V8 Challenge Cup, which is part of the rival SuperTourer show. That the bloke whose name is on, the first of the new NZV8 cars, a lost cause. This is a shame, not just for the folk involved, who — egos and bitter rivalries aside — are still in this game because they love it, but also for the members of MSNZaffiliated clubs, as they will end up bearing some of the cost of this four-wheeled folly.

I am not taking sides here; if the tables were turned, I would be questioning the point of SuperTourers trying to do what is already being done. Right or wrong, the new series happened, and while it hasnbeen without problems (overheating engines and heated comments levelled at V8 Supercars are just a couple of examples), it has been a success on track. I have no shame in admitting that I find it easier to get passionate about the SuperTourers, primarily because they have the best drivers.

NZV8 Changes are afoot, though. A recent release from MSNZ announced that Martin Fine and Kerry Cooper, key players in Motorsport Promotions Ltd, the NZV8 promotion company, had resigned. The pessimist in me doubts this will change much in reality, while the optimist hopes it is the start of the arguably continental shifts needed to end this scrap. I have said in this column previously that my hope is for the two camps to shake has decided to sail in enemy waters has a real tinge of Russell Coutts and Team New Zealand to it.

If McKenzie decides that his FG Falcon needs a new roost, the fairly liberal V8CC rules would allow it to race on the undercard for the SuperTourers. To the best of my knowledge, that would leave only three of the new-generation V8for the series, and as yet, none is ready to race. Sure, that guarantees a podium for the entire field, which might please fans of NCEA a winner’thinking, but in the world of motorsport, it really only equates to hands, forget the past and get on with the racing.

In the meantime, despite rumours to the contrary, there is no public slow-down from the NZV8. They were on display at the CRC Speedshow, and the MSNZ website (as of mid-August) features a six-round calendar for the 2012-13 NZV8 season, starting in early December at Ruapuna. So, providing that the national bodywebsite is correct, the NZV8 foot still appears to be flat on the floor. The question is, how soon before it ends up in someonemouth?