V8 Supercars authorities have finally given the ‘Car of the Future’ – the next-generation touring car models set to run from 2013 onwards – their first public appearance, with carmakers Holden and Ford taking the wraps off their new models in Sydney today.
The new control chassis has been designed and developed to reduce costs and improve driver safety, and it will make its competitive debut from 2013 onwards, when all teams will adopt the new design.
On the surface, the cars remain faithful in appearance to the actual Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon models currently used, it’s under the skin where the changes are more apparent.
Most critically, the fuel cell has been repositioned in front of the rear axle to minimise the chance of fires being triggered from accidents at the rear of the car.
The ‘Car of the Future’ also features independent rear suspension, greatly reinforced side protection, a collapsible steering column and polycarbonate windshields and windows.
The cars were shown off at a media launch in Sydney today, ahead of both cars being demonstrated on track on the opening day of the Telstra Sydney 500 at Homebush.
“The major changes are under the skin or in the design architecture primarily to make the cars cheaper to build and to repair,” Mark Skaife, the multiple V8 Supercars champion and newly appointed chairman of the V8 Supercars Commission, said at the launch.
“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 is an integral part of our long-term business and sporting strategy,” added V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane.
“[It] will result in V8 Supercars embracing new opportunities domestically and internationally, on and off the track. This is a watershed day for V8 Supercars.”
Skaife also predicted that the advent of the COTF will act as a lure for another manufacturer to join the championship, possibly when the new car makes its race debut.
“Today Ford and Holden combined have roughly 20 per cent of the [Australian road car] market,” he added.
“The other 80 per cent of the market needs to be embraced by V8 Supercars. The reality is you can’t have your whole sport based on 20 per cent of the car market.”
[Images and video via V8 Supercars]