Great balls of fire!

V8 Supercar driver Karl Reindler has walked away from this astonishing crash with nothing more than second degree burns to his hands. The incident happened at Barbagallo Raceway this morning after Reindler stalled his car on the starting grid and was hit from behind by Steve Owen, who also escaped without serious injury.

Speaking after the accident Reindler said, “I loaded the clutch up and it stalled. I had my foot all the way down; I didn’t even release the clutch. I couldn’t get it going at all. There’s nothing I could do.

“Before I knew it I saw flames inside the car. I guess I panicked and tried to get out as quick as I could. My body’s fine, it’s just my hands.”

[Source: Speedcafe]

UPDATE: New video has been added above which shows Channel 7 pitlane reporter Mark Larkham inspecting the burnt wreckage of Reindler’s car. Replays and subsequent commentary from Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife follows. After the break you can see footage of the incident as it happened.

Formula 1 Holden Motorsports

TeamVodafone confirms Bathurst driver swap

The TeamVodafone V8 Supercar website has confirmed the planned promo event at Mount Panorama, Bathurst is all set to go ahead next Tuesday, 22 March. The event will start at 11am and features five time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes and 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button.

Both men will drive their own car around the legendary 6.2km circuit during the event. After a lunch break Lowndes will take to the track in a McLaren MP4-23 F1 car, while Button will do laps in the Holden Commodore V8 Supercar.

Entry is open to the public and a gold coin donation will be collected to go towards the Queensland and Victorian flood appeals. It’s sure to be a once in a lifetime, which is exactly why AUSmotive will be there to see all the action.

[Source: TeamVodafone]

Holden Motorsports

Fabian Coulthard’s Bathurst crash from the inside

Fabian Coulthard's Bathurst crash

We’ve already shown you the spectacular footage of Fabian Coulthard’s first lap crash from the 2010 Bathurst race. We’ve even shown you amateur footage captured from the side of the track. Now, Walkinshaw Racing brings us the view from inside the car. It’s an amazing piece of action. Check it out after the break.

Holden Motorsports

Another look at Fabian Coulthard’s spectacular Bathurst crash

Here’s a couple of new YouTube clips of Fabian Coulthard’s violent crash from lap 1 of the recent Supercheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst. The two clips were recorded by fans from the inside of The Chase and give a good insight into the crowd reaction.


New Holden hatch ready to Cruze into Paris

Chevrolet Cruze

This rather stylish looking hatchback is a Holden Cruze. It will have its first public reveal in a few weeks on the Chevrolet stand at the Paris Motor Show. The car has been designed and built by Holden’s Port Melbourne design studio.

The Cruze will be made in Australia and is set to roll off local production lines towards the end of next year. It’s no Astra, but it’s still a pretty handy looking piece of kit. Thankfully, the Holden version won’t share that unfortunate Chevrolet nose.

Holden Motorsports News

Mal Rose Racing at the 2009 Dubai 24 hour

2009 Dubai 24 hour race

A quick shout out to Mal Rose and his team for their recent efforts at the 2009 Dubai 24 hour race (8-10 January). Mal Rose Racing took an ex-Garry Rogers Motorsport V8 Supercar and a duo of Mitsubishi Mirage Cup cars to the race. Mal’s team was the only Australian representation at the race in 2009.

Mal shared racing duties in the V8 Supercar with Peter Leemhuis and Tony Alford (who debuted a Nissan GT-R at the 2008 Targa Tasmania). Competing against touring cars and GT specials from manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Aston Martin and Audi, to name a few, Mal’s team had their Aussie V8 Supercar leading their class, and as high as third place outright, before mechanical issues spoiled the fun.

They were holding a solid top ten position as far as 14 hours into the race before diff troubles saw the team spent two hours in pit lane. Despite these issues the team got the car back on the race track and set their best times. Mal’s best time of 2 minutes 8.5 seconds was virtually matched by Peter Leemhuis (2 minutes 8.7 seconds).

Mal spent time early on in the race dicing with F1 engineer Adrian Newey (currently with Red Bull Racing) who was driving a Ferrari F430. In the stifling conditions Newey was treated for heat exhaistion after his stint and Mal was pretty chuffed with his fitness, stating, “I am now 46 years old and feel very race fit!”

In their third Dubai 24 hour race, the team completed 494 laps, finishing fifth in class and 33rd outright. Overall, this was a great effort by the team in what is a true privateer outfit. It’s great seeing guys like Mal having belief in themselves and getting out there and having a great time.

Film maker Stuart Greaves from Adrenaline Video was there making another doco, following on from his 2007 release, Mal’s Big Green Hell. So expect a new release soon!

The next event for Mal Rose will be with Peter and Tony in the Donut King Monaro at the Bathurst 12hr in mid February. Their next international events will be the Nürburgring 24hr in May then Spa 12hr in June 2009.

(A few more pics sent in from Mal can be seen after the jump.)

Carmageddon GM Holden News

Holden to slash production by 15,000 vehicles

Holden's Elizabeth manufacturing plant - press shop

The Global Financial Crisis is biting hard on the home front, with news Holden will start 2009 with a series of production line closures from January through to March. This will affect as many as 3,400 workers, although they will still be eligible to claim a wage equivalent to four and a half days work during their down time. The closures amount to around 15,000 less vehicles being produced.

At this stage, Holden’s top brass are saying no permanent retrenchments are on the horizon. In tough times like this, and with parent company GM in all sorts of financial bother, I’m sure these claims mean little to GM’s Australian workers. With sales of the traditional Aussie big 6 cylinder falling, one has to wonder just how much longer our car industry will remain viable?

More information, audio and video on this story can be accessed from ABC Online.

Holden Motorsports News

Mark Skaife announces retirement

Mark Skaife

Mark Skaife took centre stage today as he announced his retirement from full time V8 Supercar racing. His decision will take effect at the completion of the 2008 season, with the Oran Park round (4-7 December) being his last. Skaife claimed he no longer has the passion required for full-time racing, due in part to the demands of his ownership/management role with the Holden Racing Team.

At his press conference today Skaife said he regretted not being able to make it to Formula 1, but once it was clear that pathway would not be possible, he promised himself to make the most of the opportunities presented to him in Australia. With five Bathurst wins and five Australian Touring Car Championships, it is fair to say that Skaife made good on his promise.

General Motors’ statement on Skaife’s retirement can be read below. Other coverage can also be found at the V8 Supercars website here and here.


Holden fuels economy

Holden 99c fuel cap offerOn a day where official interest rates dropped for the first time in seven years Holden is chasing more family friendly headlines. For all private buyers until 31 October Holden will cap fuel at 99¢ a litre for two years or 20,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.

Alan Batey, Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales said “We will provide this cap across all segments to ensure the benefits are as widely available as possible, given that fuel prices impact all drivers regardless of the size of their car. Whether you’re buying a Commodore for the family, a Barina as your first car, or a Colorado as tool of trade, we know everyone will appreciate our helping hand.

“GM Holden is committed to providing affordable and economical cars to our customers, and this campaign is another way that can be achieved.”

Maybe I’m missing something here, but surely this offer would actually encourage people to buy less fuel efficient cars. One thing is certain this offer has nothing to do with providing more fuel efficient cars. There’s more to this offer, but I can’t tell you right now, I’m off to get me six-litres of loud and proud Aussie V8 Sportwagon! (A shame that the 270kW V8s are recommended to run on 98RON and this offer only applies to 91RON fuel or diesel. Gee, who saw that coming!)

Source: Holden

Carmageddon Ford Holden News Toyota

Discussion on Australia’s car industry

ABC Radio - Australia Talks on Radio National

On my drive home from work the other day I caught the start of Paul Barclay’s Australia Talks program on Radio National. The focus of discussion was on Australia’s car industry, with topics canvassed including:

  • Ford’s decision to cut 350 jobs and the broader impact that will have on local employment
  • The planned cut in tariffs from 10% down to 5%
  • How effective are the Holden and Toyota export programs?
  • Should the Australian car manufacturing industry be protected, and why has it been protected in the past?
Holden News

Mechanics mangle Monaro

Mechanice mangle MonaroIn a story that is sure to send shivers down the spine of AUSmotive readers The Daily Telegraph reports of a shocking tale of Heartland Holden employees joyriding and crashing a customer’s car. Residents close to the Parramatta dealership were alarmed when Colin Chaffen’s Holden Monaro lost control and went crashing through a residential fence.

NSW Police are investigating the incident, however the Telegraph have quoted Mr Chaffen saying top brass at Heartland Holden attempted to deceive him by giving numerous explanations as to the cause of the accident. Raising his anxiety further were insurance payout complications from the Western Sydney Holden dealership.

But perhaps the most alarming revelations were claims from a former employee at Heartland Holden. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph the anonymous former employee claimed this was not an isolated incident, “They’re hoons. Whenever a nice car came in they were all itching to take it for a drive. I saw them do burn-outs, speed and drive erratically on test drives, and their attitude was ‘it’s not my car’.”

While it is difficult to verify the accuracy of the former employee’s claims, they do tend to support the worst fears for many innocent customers who have a right to expect their cars can be trusted when left with a supposedly reputable workshop. I’m sure I am not the only one that has heard anecdotal evidence of similar stories, although I personally haven’t heard of joyriding mechanics crashing a customer’s car before.

Source: The Daily Telegraph
(Thanks to Dave for the tip)

GM Safety Issues Volkswagen

Crash test footage: They don’t make them like they used to!

Here’s a couple of YouTube clips that prove beyond any doubt that they don’t make cars like they used to.

While it may be feeble to compare two different crash tests filmed over with cars built 20 years apart (first clip an early 1980s Holden VB Commodore, second a Volkswagen Mk5 Jetta), the results shown are both shocking and confronting. In isolation, the second clip itself is still quite alarming, but comparatively, it is rather more reassuring.