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V8 Supercars boss outlines category’s future
Turbo-charged coupes to take on V8s in Supercars chief’s vision
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4 Dec 2014
JUST two days after Ford announced it’s leaving V8 Supercars the boss of Australia’s top-tier racing category has outlined his plans for the future of the series with new regulations allowing different body shapes and powerplants.
Speaking at the Grand Final lunch ahead of the Sydney 500 this weekend V8 Supercars chief executive officer James Warburton revealed his ‘blueprint’ for Gen2 Supercar platform due to come in effect from 2017.
Mr Warburton said the new rules meant current V8 racecars could be joined by turbo-charged four-cylinder and V6-powered vehicles thereby opening up the category to more manufacturers and giving the racing a broader appeal.
“It is imperative to keep the sport relevant to the current environment, entertaining and, critically, viable for the race teams,” he 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 new platform allows coupe and four-door body shaped cars to compete, as long as the production version of the car is a four-seater. The Gen2 regulations state that the vehicle must be rear-wheel drive, front-engined and use the Car of The Future (COF) control chassis developed for the current generation vehicles.
Other control components for the 2017 Supercar include the roll cage, brakes (AP Racing), tyres (Dunlop), axles (Race Products), wheels (Rimstock), independent rear suspension, gearbox (Albins), electronics (MoTeC) and steering column (Woodward).
The next 12 months will see two committees focusing on drafting engine and body technical specifications to ensure parity between the vehicles. This will include aerodynamics and engine output guidelines.
Mr Warburton said an important part of his plan was retaining the “fierce” sound of the category, too.
“The sheer brute power and sound of V8 Supercars is synonymous with the sport,” Warburton said.
“A key area will be retaining the acoustic effect of high powered race cars no matter the engine or make.”
With the end of local manufacturing in Australia in 2016 the Gen2 Supercar plan is a vital move for the survival of the category which has seen Ford Falcons battle Holden Commodores under the V8 Supercars banner since 1997.
The new COF platform and regulations allowed other manufacturers to join the series with Nissan taking to the grid in 2012, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
Mr Warburton’s vision for V8 Supercars is timely with Ford announcing this week that it planned to withdraw support of its factory team Ford Performance Racing after 2015.
The Gen2 2017 blueprint will see a brand identity of the category changed with a new logo featuring a stylised letter S incorporating a letter C. The new branding will be rolled out from next year.
V8 Supercars has also signed six-year media rights deal with Fox Sports, Channel 10, Foxtel and News Limited commencing in 2015.
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