UNCERTAINTY FOR CERTAIN
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?