Motorsport

Supercars wants to end in-season development with Gen3 cars

The regulations will see teams switch to next-generation Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros mid-way through next season, in what will perhaps be the biggest technical upheaval of the modern Supercars era.

A primary objective of the new rules is cost-cutting, with cheaper build and running costs for both the cars themselves and their V8 engines a critical target.

As part of the cost-cutting measures the last of the technical freedom is set to be stripped away from teams, with the car to be more controlled than any other in Supercars history.

According to Supercars that won’t just help drive down build costs, but will put a stop to expensive in-season development races.

As it stands teams are constantly developing parts, mostly related to the front suspension, during each season, something that won’t be relevant once those parts are controlled.

“Yes we are,” said Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess when asked if Supercars is trying to stop the arms race between teams.

“It’s one of the most expensive parts of our sport currently, is the development race that is allowed to go on. And the size of the teams and the engineering departments is fairly significant.

“They’re always trying to change the car and improve it by the smallest margins and details, day in, day out.

“Part of the whole philosophy of the Gen3 car is to give everyone exactly the same product but give them something that’s adjustable. So the engineers can make a difference.

“But they won’t be going away and changing a pickup point on an upright by five millimeters [and] costing themselves 50,000 in building new uprights.

Adrian Burgess

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

“That side of the car and the programme should generate a fairly significant cost reduction for the teams and the amount of staff that it needs to operate the car.

“The uprights and the wishbones and the roll-bars that are on the car on day one, will be the same ones that are on the car five years later. They won’t be going away and continually re-engineering or redesigning any part of the car.

“It should come down to whoever’s done the best job on the day between the car, engineer and driver, and the team. It won’t come down to the size of your chequebook and just turn into an arms race about developing a car.

“It’s not like Formula 1 where you’re bringing 30, 40, 50 developments to every grand prix. That’s not sustainable.

“As you can see in F1, they’re trying to bring in budget caps and the like. So that era of motor sport is gone. We need to follow suit and we need to protect the teams and we need to deliver them with a car that’s cost effective, sustainable.

“And then, you don’t need an army of millions and millions to run the car.”

As for build costs, Burgess reckons the project is “on target” for a $400,000 turn key car, a figure that is $50,000 more than first hoped, but still significantly cheaper than the current car-and-engine package.

“Some of the agreements haven’t been finalised, some of the parts are still been manufactured and made, so it’s impossible to give you [an exact figure],” he said.

“There’s a number, but it’s going to be somewhere between [$350,000 and $450,000]. It’d be closer to a three than a four. We believe we’re still on target.

“When you look at the current price of cars and engines it should be a significant reduction in common prices that are being paid at the moment. We still hope to have the car around the $400,000 number.

“We think we’re on target for that but, as normal, if we’re running a compressed production timeline then that will probably incur some more costs because you have to try and rush things through.

“At the moment where we’re believe we’re on target for a $400,000 car, but that’s a turn key car. That’s engine, gearbox, everything.”

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