Su­per­cars’ new look

Big changes will lead to bet­ter rac­ing, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

THE cars will look the same, but the rac­ing could be very dif­fer­ent when the V8 Su­per­cars Car of the Fu­ture hit the track in 2012. V8 Su­per­cars last week lifted the veil off a pro­to­type chas­sis be­ing built in Queens­land un­der the su­per­vi­sion of PACE In­no­va­tions’ Paul Cepr­nich.

Sev­eral teams have ten­dered to de­sign as­pects of the cars and the de­signer of the new in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion be­lieves it could lead to more spec­tac­u­lar rac­ing and more pass­ing.

Jeromy Moore, race en­gi­neer for Craig Lown­des at Triple Eight Rac­ing, says the in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion should work bet­ter on bumpy tracks and al­low more than one rac­ing line through a corner.

‘‘It will be cheaper than a live rear axle be­cause cur­rently teams are spend­ing big dol­lars try­ing to make gold out of lead,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s not un­com­mon to spend $150,000 on de­sign­ing a half-de­cent live axle.’’

He says the in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion will al­low for more vari­a­tion in set-up, cre­at­ing per­for­mance dif­fer­ences among the teams.

‘‘There will be more ad­just­ment in the rear. In­stead of just chang­ing the roll cen­tre, you can change the cam­ber gain, roll cen­tre mi­gra­tion and bump steer. In­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion will also put the power to the ground eas­ier on bumpy tracks and al­low more corner speed and more rac­ing lines through a corner so you can pass around the out­side, clip the kerb or go off the rac­ing line.’’

Moore says he also ex­pects the en­gine to be moved fur­ther back in the Car of the Fu­ture, putting less weight on the front, re­duc­ing un­der­steer and al­low­ing driv­ers to at­tack cor­ners and pass on the in­side.

The new cars will look iden­ti­cal to a rac­ing ver­sion of the road-go­ing man­u­fac­turer’s model, be pow­ered by a V8 en­gine and have four doors and rear-wheel drive.

The new con­trolled chas­sis for­mat is ex­pected to pro­vide a level play­ing field, in­creased driver safety and cheaper rac­ing, at­tract­ing other car man­u­fac­tur­ers to en­ter the V8 Su­per­cars se­ries.

The cost to pro­duce a car is ex­pected to be re­duced from more than $500,000 to about $250,000 with cheaper re­pair and run­ning costs.

V8 Su­per­cars Aus­tralia CEO Martin Whi­taker says the project is ‘‘piv­otal in the growth of the cat­e­gory and to guar­an­tee V8 Su­per­cars’ long-term suc­cess’’.

‘‘Im­por­tantly, it also gives us a chance to un­der­line the fact that these cars will be proper man­u­fac­turer race­cars and not taken the Nascar ap­proach of un­de­fined body shells,’’ he says.

Ford Fal­con FG and Holden Com­modore VE II Car of the Fu­ture pro­to­types are due for com­ple­tion by the end of this year and are sched­uled to make their de­but at the V8 Su­per­cars sea­son launch and of­fi­cial pre-sea­son test at East­ern Creek on Jan­uary 29.

The cars will un­dergo a 3000km test­ing pro­gram next year and be el­i­gi­ble in the 2012 V8 Su­per­car Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. They will be­come com­pul­sory in 2013 for all teams and po­ten­tial man­u­fac­tur­ers.

First glimpse: a V8 Su­per­car Car of the Fu­ture chas­sis.

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