While the V8 will remain for some time yet, the governing body of the V8 Supercars has confirmed it will open up the sport to new engine and body configurations from 2017.
V8 Supercars says the series, known as Gen2 Supercar, will mean the sport will have increased relevance to manufacturers, race fans, teams and sponsors.
“It is imperative to keep the sport relevant to the current environment, entertaining and, critically, viable for the race teams,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said.
“The current climate in world motorsport is absolutely clear. Manufacturers want choice in what they go racing with, otherwise they won’t participate. They want their DNA represented and so do we. We will not compromise our DNA – fast, loud and fierce racing.
“The sheer brute power and sound of V8 Supercars is synonymous with the sport. A key area will be retaining the acoustic effect of high powered race cars no matter the engine or make.”
The addition of Volvo, Nissan and Erebus Motorsport (AMG E63) to the series in 2013 was the first step towards the 2017 plan. And, it’s been very successful.
Having ‘traditional’ V8 Supercar drivers such as Todd Kelly switching to drive for the new brands certainly helped the transition – from what has been a two-make series for two decades. Plus, luxury car maker Lexus has expressed interest in joining the series and is believed to be in ‘high level’ discussions.
The 2017 White Paper means the current V8 Supercars could be joined by turbo-charged six or four cylinder engines from 2017.
The new format is not surprising given that the local manufacturers have both confirmed they will cease production of the current models on which the series is based from next year. Ford’s announcement earlier this week that it was withdrawing from the sport from the end of next year has also had a major impact on the sport’s future.
Ironically, the new plans bring the sport almost back full circle – harking back to what the Australian Touring Car Championship looked like in the 1990s – when cars such as the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Ford Sierra and BMW M3 raced.
So what will be the new rules?
The high level guidelines dictate the following:
1.The car must be publicly available for sale in Australia
3.Right hand drive
4.Full four-seat configuration
5.Rear wheel drive
6.Accurately reflect the look of the road car and;
7.Retain the essential DNA of the sport.
All cars will use the existing Car of the Future chassis and control components, and be subject to engine and aero parity rules.
“The rules will ensure no engine or body configuration has any advantage or disadvantage over another,” a V8 Supercars statement said.
“The groups will be headed by V8 Supercars’ motorsport department which will be tasked with making recommendations to the V8 Supercars Commission which includes representatives of V8 Supercars, race teams and independents.
“These groups will consult with participating manufacturers and teams throughout the process.
“The technical groups will aim to publish draft engine and body style operating guidelines for discussion by mid-2015.
“These guidelines will be defined towards the end of 2015, allowing testing to commence from February 2016.”
A new category logo will be rolled out from 2015 featuring a stylised ‘SC’ with S in red and C in white with V8 Supercars positioned underneath to make way for the engine transition from 2017.
Do you think the Gen2 Supercars series will be a change for the better?