Supercars’ new look
Big changes will lead to better racing, writes Mark Hinchliffe
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.