V8 Supercars hopes to see its leading teams begin testing their own Car of the Future race cars on the Monday following next year’s Coates Hire Ipswich 300.
With the V8 Supercars-run prototype testing program expected to be completed by April, the category is currently assessing how Car of the Future testing will work for the teams.
It is expected that next year’s Ipswich (August 3-5) and Winton (August 24-26) events will see teams classified as ‘Accredited Builders’ of COTF chassis stay on at the circuits for a day of testing, allowing back-to-back comparisons with the current cars to be made.
The Accredited Builder list, which formalises the difference between ‘manufacturer’ and ‘customer’ teams, currently includes Triple Eight Race Engineering, Ford Performance Racing, Stone Brothers Racing, Walkinshaw Racing and Kelly Racing.
According to V8 Supercars, teams will have as many as 10 COTF test days to use between August 2012 and the conclusion of the 2013 calendar year, and will be expected to share information from the initial tests.
“COTF testing for 2013 will be a test program that will commence in August 2012,” V8 Supercars motorsport manager Adam Perry told Speedcafe.com.
“We believe that by early August there will be a reasonable spread of chassis between the Accredited Builders, and they can then test and share that information with their customer teams, because initially it will be about making sure that what they’ve built works.
“Eventually they’ll start to do their own chassis tuning, but one thing that Supercars is going to assist in trying to facilitate is that all the teams will share in the initial information if it is at all possible, in order to have a reasonably level playing field when it comes to the commencement of 2013.”
Accredited Builders can expect the two post-event tests to be mandatory, pending ongoing assessment of the build programs over the next nine months.
“We’ve already looked into booking Ipswich and Winton for the Monday after each round, and Accredited builders will be required to bring a car to those test days, or they will lose the days from their allocation,” confirmed Perry.
“That’s in place as a bit of an incentive to get teams building, but we don’t want to lock anything in too hard at the moment because the teams will build the cars at different rates and we don’t want to have any team disadvantaged.”
The Pace Innovations built COTF prototypes are both at Winton today, with Rick Kelly and Mark Winterbottom on hand to continue the tyre testing that began at Phillip Island last week.
While Mark Skaife, who has been appointed as the leader of the tyre testing program, is unable to attend today’s test, it will be the last time the cars are run this year.
“The Winton test day completes the running that we will do this year, the cars will then be stickered up for the launch (at the Sydney Telstra 500),” said Perry.
“We’ll recommence the tyre testing again in February, and by the end of March we’d expect to have completed that program, as well as our brake and aero work. As far as car specifications go the testing is virtually done.”
In addition to assisting with the formulation of the testing regulations, the Accredited Builder scheme is expected to see each COTF assigned an official chassis number by V8 Supercars.