Nostalgia, noun: /n ɒˈstaldʒ(ɪ)ə/; a sentimental longing or a wistful affection for a period in the past.
Although the BF/FG Falcon and VZ/VE Commodore, particularly the 'Car of the Future' era of V8 Supercars may not be old enough to evoke nostalgia for everyone, it’s the generation I remember most growing up.
For the first time since 2019, the V8 Touring Cars, which brought ex-V8 Supercars up to the 2013 'Car of the Future' together, would be a stand-alone series with its own calendar.
More recently the series was called Super 3, which had raced right alongside the Super 2 series from 2020 up until last year. Super 3 will continue alongside Super 2, as the V8 Touring Cars returned to its independence at the 2023 Speed Series Phillip Island round.
Gather a grid of loud, purebred and brutal Australian race cars, that have their own stories and impressive resumes, with experienced and up and coming drivers behind the wheel, and you've got a noteworthy racing recipe. Although only nine cars took to the first practice at Phillip Island, the competition is expected to expand to more than twenty cars by the third round in August at Queensland Raceway. The series will have its finale at the Bathurst International, and I'll be pretty disappointed if I miss these 'Blueprint' era Supercars take on The Mountain once more.
The consistent whiney V8 exhaust note as the cars accelerated was, only interrupted by the brutal mechanical sound of the gear changes from the sequential gearboxes that echoed across the island. The noise a complete contrast to the visuals of these Australian Supercars hugging the apexes at this picturesque track.
My personal favorite car on the grid was Mark Winterbottom's 2008 FPR BF Falcon now owned by Jacob Khouri. Winterbottom won seven races during the 2008 V8 Supercar season, on his way to runner up in the championship. However, the reason I made a beeline for this BF Falcon was because one of my favourite racecars of all time is Steven Richard's 2007/8 Castrol Edge coloured Ford Performance racing Falcon, so to be able to photograph its teammate was pretty special.
Jamie Tilley would set the fastest lap during the first practice session for the category, in the former Triple 888 FG Falcon, which was driven to victory by Craig Lowndes in 2009 at Winton. However, it's most famous moment win was at 'that' 2010 race at Sydney Motorsport Park, that took Jonathen Webb to his first victory. Second in first practice was Ray Hislop in the other ex-Winterbottom Falcon that raced at Bathurst in 2012 with the 1977 XB Falcon winning paint scheme. Third would be Jim Pollicina in another retro-liveried car that raced at Bathurst, whilst also taking seven wins during the 2012 season under the guise of Craig Lowndes.
Jamie Tilley would finish off the V8 Touring Car's Friday running with the fastest time of a 1:35.213. 18-year-old Jude Bargwanna would debut this weekend driving an FPR FG Falcon. Bargwanna's car claimed 35 wins in 199 starts in the V8 Supercars, then claimed the 2015 Super2 championship in the hands of Cam Waters, and the 2022 Super3 championship being driven by Brad Vaughan. Bargwanna would be second fastest, followed by Jim Pollicina.
Jude Bargwanna would set the fastest lap of the weekend in the very short Saturday morning qualifying session with a 1:33.926, 1.2 seconds ahead of Jamie Tilley, who was nine tenths ahead of Ray Hislop in third. Not everyone was able to get their best lap in, as Jacob Khouri spun and crashed into the Turn 2 barrier ending his weekend prematurely, and red flagging the session, as repairs were made to the tyre bundles.
Pollicina would thread the needle from the second row to grab the lead into turn 1, but would drop back to fourth, then give Hislop and the fans a good Ford vs Holden battle, on his way back to third. Peter Abood in his VE Commodore, previously raced by Paul Morris and Russell Ingall didn't finish the first race, and would be joined in the pit lane by Jamie Tilley who suffered a tyre failure on the final lap, handing second place to Pollicina and third to Ray Hislop, as Bargwanna pulled away, winning on debut.
Pollicina would yet again get the jump on Bargwanna at the start of Race 2, as Tony Evangelou, in FPR's first BA Falcon, which had been driven by Craig Lowndes, Glenn Seton and Jason Bright, while also taking Evangelou to the 2010 V8 Touring Car title, tried to hold on to third. Bargwanna would ultimately grab the lead around the outside of Turn 1, with Hislop spinning and almost making contact with Tilley, as Evangelou would suffer mechanical problems. Jude Bargwanna would take two wins from two, ahead of Pollicina and Antonio Molluso in third, driving the former Stone Brothers Racing Falcon, raced by Tim Slade in 2012.
In the final race of the categories return at Phillip Island, Jude Bargwanna would stall from pole position, dropping down to last place on lap one, as Pollicina grabbed the lead once again. Jamie Tilley moved through the field, as Tony Audinno fell back from second with damage to his BA Falcon, debuted by Matt White during the 2006 Super2 championship.
Jamie Tilley would deny Jim Pollicina victory, taking the chequered flag ahead of Pollicina and a charging Bargwanna who recovered to finish third, and ultimately win the overall round trophy. The V8 Touring Car Championship heads now the challenging Winton circuit, as Bargwanna is followed by Jim Pollicina who trails by only six points.