Time is running for the V8 Supercars Championship’s rulemakers, who have to decide on whether the Nissan and Mercedes runners will be allowed to run an E70 ethanol fuel blend for the upcoming endurance races at Sandown, Bathurst and Surfers Paradise.
The push from both manufacturers stems from the fact they their engines – developed specifically for the championship rules – are considerably thirstier than the well-developed units from series veterans Ford and Holden.
If forced to use the standard fuel for the endurance races, it would put the Nissan and Mercedes runners at a major disadvantage, having to pit more frequently over the course of the longer races.
Both marques ran the E70 blend on a trial basis at the last round at Winton, with the series’ officials giving tacit approval for its use for evaluation purposes.
Nissan Motorsport opted to run it for Norton Racing teammates James Moffat and Michael Caruso, while Erebus Motorsport filled Maro Engel’s AMG E63 Mercedes with the fuel, which is a 70:30 ethanol-to-unleaded fuel mix as opposed to the control E85 85:15 ratio normally used.
However, the decision to allow the differing fuel blends may have backfired, with Moffat and Caruso enjoying easily their most competitive performance of the season, claiming a 1-2 in Saturday’s SuperSprint race at the Victorian circuit.
Prior to the event, engines from both car makers were supplied to the V8 Supercars officials for independent testing on their control engine dyno, where the E70 and E85 blends were used in direct comparisons.
The findings of this analysis are yet to be revealed, and the series’ governing body is yet to hand down its decision on whether to give Mercedes and Nissan dispensation to use the E70 fuel for the next three rounds.