V8 Supercars has officially launched its two Car of the Future prototypes ahead of this weekend's Sydney Telstra 500.
The unveiling of the 2013-spec Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon prototypes is the culmination of a three-year project to assure the long-term viability, safety and cost effectiveness of the sport.
Led by Chairman of the V8 Supercar Commission and five-time V8 Supercars Champion, Mark Skaife together with a team of engineers, designers and car builders, the cars represent the next generation of V8 Supercars, with the new platform to be used by all teams by 2013.
“We already have an outstanding product so this is a case of evolution, not revolution,” said Skaife.
“The major changes are under the skin or in the design architecture primarily to make the cars cheaper to build and to repair. We also want to ensure the market relevance by keeping the car as close as it can possibly be to the car on the show room floor.
“We want for the whole of the industry to be able to run the cars more cost-effectively. So for everybody – the team owners, the fans and supporters of our sport – it will keep our teams more viable and provide better racing.”
The Car of the Future introduces a new platform of standardised components including independent rear suspension, a new transaxle gearbox, a collapsible steering column, a new fire extinguisher system, a safer roll-cage system with added side intrusion protection, polycarbonate windscreens and a new Dunlop 18-inch wheel and tyre package.
The fuel tank will also be moved forward from the boot to the inside of the chassis to prevent a potential fire hazard in the case of a rear end collision, such as the incident at the Barbagallo Raceway earlier in the season which saw Karl Reindler’s engulfed in flames.
Relating more directly with the production vehicles, the design also makes it easier for other potential manufacturers to build a V8 Supercar and take the battle to Holden and Ford after 19 years of the current two-make only formula.
“We encourage new manufacturers to be with us,” said Skaife.
“If we are able to have two or three manufacturers over the next three or four years we will be in a very healthy position.
“Australia is a very different place in 2011 than in 1993,” he continued.
“Today Ford and Holden combined have roughly 20 per cent of the market. The other 80 per cent of the market needs to be embraced by V8 Supercars.
“The end result will be a better show. There will be more, higher quality racing and this will see V8 Supercars continue as the most cost effective, competitive and exciting touring car category in the world.”