V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton has confirmed that he is formulating a white paper to a ‘2017 Generation Two’ platform for the championship as he explores the future direction of the series, which could potentially include revised car shapes and smaller-capacity engines.
“What we’re working towards is a 2017 generation ‘two’ and a completely different landscape without (local automotive) manufacturing,” he told the series’ official website.
“So everything’s on the table and that’s why we’re talking to manufacturers at the moment, participating and non-participating.
“The beauty of the landscape we have is that anything is possible. So you could look at a different configuration, different power plants. That’s not to say we are suddenly going to make wholesale changes, it may be that we decide to stay as is.”
The former television executive has met with representatives from the incumbent and potential new car manufacturers over recent weeks to discuss the future direction of the Australian touring car championship, where it is understood different body shapes and engine configurations are up for discussion.
The news comes just 18 months after the highly successful launch of the current ‘Car of the Future’ regulations, which have seen three new car brands – Nissan, Mercedes-AMG and Volvo – break the longstanding Holden-Ford duopoly.
Ford and Holden’s respective Falcon and Commodore models will be consigned to history in the coming years as both carmakers end their local manufacturing efforts in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Holden has committed itself to the championship until its shutdown deadline, while Ford’s future commitment is – at this stage – unknown beyond the end of the current season.
The current 5.0-litre V8 engine regulations face the prospect of becoming more outdated, making this a logical path of exploration as the category looks to remain road-relevant. The move coincides with NASCAR’s own consideration of moving to smaller-capacity engines.
Holden has effectively admitted that the writing is on the wall for the current engine regulations, confirming that it will not race a V8-engined car if its corresponding roadgoing version is not available for sale with the same powerplant configuration.
The current category rules dictate that a carmaker cannot enter a model in the championship that isn’t sold as a four-door saloon in Australia. The only way either a Falcon or Commodore model could remain would be if either marque’s subsidiary – or parent – companies picks up the manufacturing effort.