The new scheme will see the blanket-ban on V8s and turbocharged petrol engines lifted, in what many see as a ‘common sense’ decision.
As more carmakers move toward smaller, fuel-efficient engines that utilise turbocharging to boost power and driveability, the list of approved cars for P-platers was shrinking fast.
The previous scheme allowed a young driver to pilot a Holden Commodore SV6 with 210kW for example, but a turbocharged Volkswagen Polo with 77kW was off limits unless the driver was granted an exemption.
Under the new system, a power-to-weight ratio of 130kW per tonne will apply to all vehicles built during or after 2010, in a system similar to the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS).
Aside from the Polo, many other small turbocharged modes will now be approved for young drivers, along with the likes of Toyota’s LandCruiser GX pickup; which has the ‘double whammy’ of both eight-cylinder and turbocharged power, yet only 151kW.
The power-to-weight scheme only applies to vehicles built from 2010 onwards, however, with cars built in 2009 or earlier still governed by the existing scheme.
“Changing the guidelines will open up better job opportunities for P-platers in regional areas, by removing restrictions on vehicles such as the Toyota LandCruiser which are preferred by the agricultural sector,” Victoria’s Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, said.
“This is about practicality, as many eight cylinder vehicles are heavy and therefore lack the ability to accelerate quickly.”
Mr Mulder said the new power-to-weight ratio definition will also cut red tape, by removing the need to process and issue exemptions for low-powered turbocharged vehicles.
A database will be added to the VicRoads website from July 1, outlining the models that comply with the new power-to-weight ratio guidelines.