Posted by Franz Huber on Oct 26, 2022
Sometimes, when someone tells me about “how good it was in the good ol’ days”, I counter with my assessment of modern dentistry compared to then. But, really, car racing in the seventies was better, wasn’t it? In 1973, one saw all sorts of cars on the circuit, from the big Holden and Ford muscle cars (which invariably won) to the Morris Cooper S and – wait for this – a little Datsun bubble. But even then, it was not cheap to compete: Ian, who has had a lifelong association with Motor Racing, recounted when he was asked if he'd be interested to drive in a Valiant Charger which one of his friends had prepared from a standard model. “Yes, I’ll be in that!” Ian replied. “That will cost you two grand,” his mate replied. $2,000 was roughly what one paid for a small 4 cylinder car, e.g. the equivalent of about $25,000 today. Long but captivating story (sorry, you should have been there yourself!), but ultimately Ian ended up being appointed Team Manager. They scored the 1st Reserve… And lo and behold, one of the Torana’s broke down on the first warm-up lap. Result: Ian’s team came 11th!
Compare today’s Supercar races, as in Gold Coast 600. For a “middle of the road” car, your budget would need to be in the vicinity of $5 Million per car, per year. A “top car” will set you back in the vicinity of $10 Million. That is provided that you actually get in – places are very limited. “Compared to the seventies, there is nothing in a modern race car that has any similarity to a street model,” Ian said. And, according to Ian, it is the only sport where the participants, as well as the manufacturers as well as the people watching it pay. “The only way to make a fortune out of Motor Racing is to start with a large one…” Ian quipped
Hmmm… might have to stay with my favorite pastime after all: Bushwalking…