V8 Supercars has handed down first draft details of its evolving new racecar requirements, developed as part of a major overhaul planned for the 2017 season.
The guidelines released today detail further the new ‘Gen2’ program first revealed in December, introducing a number of key changes that will allow a wider field of carmakers to participate.
From 2017, the SuperCars championship - which will drop the ‘V8’ branding that has represented the series since switching away from international Group A regulations in 1993 - will be open to race cars driven by engines with a cylinder count no longer set specifically at eight.
The guidelines specify, however, that regardless of engine configuration, its design must not exceed the Supercars accumulated power output and weighted average.
It has also been confirmed that all race cars will have to meet existing aerodynamic guidelines and technical requirements - a rule that the company hopes will ensure that “the same spectacular, tight racing enjoyed today” continues beyond 2017.
“We made it clear when we announced the Gen2 strategy that there will be no compromise in power, competition or technical parity,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said.
“The category in 2017 will be exactly what it is now. Fast, loud and fiercely competitive. This opens the same garage door a little wider and future proofs the sport.
The new rules will allow greater flexibility in body styles, allowing two-door coupes to be entered - so long as they’re based on a four-seat model.
Built on the existing ‘Car of the Future’ platform, they must also be rear-wheel-drive and accurately reflect the look of its road-going counterpart.
Don’t expect to see any ultra-limited niche cars on the track, either, with the rules requiring a minimum production volume of 5000 units globally for any cars intended to be transformed into a SuperCars racer.
Above: December's basic brief of the 2017 design rules.
This will all sit nicely for the likes of Lexus, which has already confirmed interest in the series and would be likely to enter with a car inspired by its new RC F hero coupe.
Nissan’s GT-R and Holden’s Commodore replacement would also be potential entrants, thanks to the requirement of rear-wheel-drive being a condition only of the race cars themselves and not their road-going counterparts.
And, while Ford Australia remains resolute in steering clear of the series from now on, it is no secret that Roger Penske is working hard to have Ford’s US headquarters throw its full support behind a Mustang-based entrant for 2017.