V8 Supercars has released details of its plan to allow for the possibility of a greater range of brands and models for 2017. The Gen2 Supercar is the next stage for the sport following the implementation of the new-generation V8 Supercar in 2013, which allowed new manufacturers to compete.
The V8 Supercars’ Board unanimously approved the blueprint, to be introduced at the start of the 2017 season, which opens the way for additional engine and body configurations to compete alongside current V8 engines and four-door sedans. The 2017 blueprint means the current V8 Supercars could be joined by turbocharged six- or four-cylinder engines.
The Gen2 Supercar model is designed to be more relevant to more manufacturers, race teams, sponsors and fans while maintaining the series’ entertainment values. The guidelines dictate that the car must be publicly available for sale in Australia, is front-engined, right-hand drive and a full four-seat configuration. The racecar must be rear-wheel drive and accurately reflect the look of the road car, retaining 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.
Over 12 months of planning, V8 Supercars consulted with the major manufacturers, participating and otherwise, race teams, sponsors, stakeholders and fans in the process of developing the 2017 direction. The series’ research showed that while core support for the sport is strong, opening to other brands and engines would have substantial appeal, particularly to younger fans.
“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 cars will continue to be loud and high powered, irrespective of their engine configuration. The competitiveness and dynamic racing the sport is renowned for will not be compromised.
“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 racecars no matter the engine or make.”
In the next 12 months two working groups – one focusing on engine configuration and the other body configuration – will draft technical specifications and rules to ensure parity across the field, and in turn the highly competitive racing the sport enjoys. The rules will ensure no engine or body configuration has any advantage or disadvantage over another.
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 toward the end of 2015, allowing testing to commence in February 2016.