Ever since AVESCO, the governing
body of Australia’s major motor sport – V8 Supercars – announced it was looking
to stage a championship round in China a couple of years ago, it not only
flagged the sport’s international pretensions beyond the local ANZAC connection,
but demonstrated just how far the sport has come in recent years.

Not only does its
championship rounds pull more than 1.6 million spectators through the gate in
Australia and New Zealand and command many hours of live coverage on
the Ten Network, but it’s also built a significant global following.

So when flamboyant AVESCO chairman Tony Cochrane first declared his
ambition to take the V8’s to race at a new state-of-the-art circuit being
built in Shanghai to host major international motor sport including Formula One,
he was met with a mixture of incredulity and even hostility in certain
quarters. And when the inaugural race
originally scheduled for last year was forced to be postponed for a
variety of reasons, you can add cynicism to the mix.

So when the 32-car field lines up on the grid at the Shanghai International
Circuit on Sunday afternoon, you could forgive the AVESCO boss for feeling a small moment of
“I told you so.” The race will be beamed live to Australia
by Ten in it’s biggest ever broadcast commitment outside
Australia. It will also be seen in 70 other countries including
live in China.

So gentlemen… start your