SUPERCARS

UN­CER­TAINTY FOR CER­TAIN

Wheels (Australia) - - FEATURE -

The next three years are per­haps the most im­por­tant in mod­ern Supercars his­tory, with a new rule­book to be writ­ten, new tele­vi­sion con­tract to be sold, and po­ten­tially new own­ers for the cat­e­gory to be found.

First, and most im­por­tantly, is the rule­book, which is un­der se­ri­ous scru­tiny ahead of the planned in­tro­duc­tion of ‘Gen3’ reg­u­la­tions in 2022. Cur­rently Ford is the only man­u­fac­turer locked into the cat­e­gory un­til then, with Holden only com­mit­ting to race the Com­modore un­til the end of 2021.

New rules are likely to in­clude re­vi­sions to the con­trol chas­sis, im­por­tantly re­shap­ing the crash struc­ture to al­low a more nat­u­ral sil­hou­ette for two-door coupes. En­gine regs are be­ing tweaked in or­der to re­duce costs sig­nif­i­cantly and power nom­i­nally, while aero is set to be culled across the board as a new test­ing process is rat­i­fied. Other tweaks in­clude con­trol dampers, more tyres, and a new elec­tron­ics sys­tem.

Oh, and Supercars is con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate im­ple­ment­ing hy­brid tech­nol­ogy. How­ever, fol­low­ing the un­mit­i­gated fail­ure of new rules de­signed to see the rein­tro­duc­tion of turbo en­gines from 2017, we aren’t hold­ing our breath.

Then there is the is­sue of who owns the whole rodeo. Syd­ney-based pri­vate eq­uity com­pany Archer bought the con­trol­ling stake in Supercars for a ru­moured $130 mil­lion in 2012, with the busi­ness val­ued in ex­cess of $300 mil­lion.

In 2017 Archer wanted at least $80 mil­lion for its stake in Supercars, but the best bid put for­ward was only around the $50 mil­lion mark.

A sale has now been put on ice un­til a new broad­cast deal is inked for 2021 – the cur­rent Fox­tel/Net­work 10 con­tract was worth $240 mil­lion over six years.

There are some rough seas ahead for Supercars. Can it steer true to clear wa­ters?

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