With the current era of V8 Supercar racing in Australia drawing nearer to an end, the sport’s organising body has released a draft plan of what fans can expect in the future.
Under the ‘Gen2’ Supercars rules (the ‘V8’ part to be dropped), set to commence in 2017, the sport has promised more of the same to ensure fans don’t feel alienated.
That means cars that are ‘fast, loud and competitive’, according to V8SC CEO, James Warburton, who declared that the shift in rules won’t result in wholesale changes.
Instead, it’s hoped the current competitors - Holden, Nissan, Volvo and the Erebus Mercedes-Benz team - will continue once 2017 rolls around, and Ford might be wooed back, away from its intended departure at the end of this season.
Holden and Ford will have ceased local manufacturing of their Commodore and Falcon models respectively once 2017 has been and gone, and these models currently represent the two carmakers in V8SC racing.
Ford’s incoming Mustang and a promised ‘V8 sports car’ from Holden could take their places, and the Gen2 rules are designed to facilitate such a change.
As outlined late last year, the new rules would allow turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines to compete alongside naturally-aspirated V8s, and body-shells will no longer have to conform to a four-door sedan shape.
Some of the current rules will remain, such as rear-wheel-drive and E85 ethanol-blended fuel, along with a minimum four-seat, front-engined layout.
Competing models must be officially sold in Australia in right-hand-drive, offer a production run of at least 5000 cars worldwide, and “accurately reflect the look of the road car” using the existing Car Of The Future chassis and control components.
The draft rules outlined by V8SC this week mean teams currently competing in the category will be able to continue more or less ‘as is’ once the 2017 season rolls around.
New engines, vehicle weight and aerodynamic properties would be required to ‘match’ those of the current V8SC racers, but parity adjustments to accommodate new competitors are inevitable.
Holden has hinted it may switch to a turbocharged V6 engine under the Gen2 rules, possibly powering a racing version of its Insignia VXR sports sedan which arrived in local showrooms last month.
The only potential newcomer at this stage is Lexus, which has openly acknowledged its consideration of a future Supercars debut.
The draft rules were presented by the V8SC governing body at this week’s Townsville 400 round.
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