V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton is adamant that the category can master the technical challenges it will face under its bold open engine configuration formula from 2017.
In a sharp detour from the current 5.0 litre V8 format, Warburton confirmed on Wednesday that “any engine anyone wants to bring” will be welcomed under its Gen2 concept.
The move has been made in order to attract new manufacturers after just two, Nissan and Volvo, signed up in a factory capacity under the Car of the Future rules.
The COTF saw quad-cam, aluminium engines join the field, but the ongoing 5.0 litre V8 requirement has proven a turn-off for many manufacturers.
Electing against a single new engine formula will set V8 Supercars apart from the majority of professional categories including the big touring car classes in England (2.0 litre, four-cylinder turbos), Germany (4.0 litre V8s) and America’s NASCAR (6.0 litre V8s).
While the diverse FIA GT3 sees a range of parameters repeatedly adjusted to ensure overall lap time parity between cars with vast differences in engine configurations and body styles, V8 Supercars will continue its current practice of striving for engine and aerodynamic parity separately.
V8 Supercars has this year implemented a horsepower parity system that sees all engines having to fit below a cumulative figure, calculated at 50rpm increments between 5,800rpm and 7,450rpm.
That system will continue into 2017, with the performance level of the engines, which currently sees them produce an approximate peak of 650bhp at 7,500rpm, expected to remain largely unchanged.
Warburton says that V8 Supercars has observed engine parity processes in other categories and is confident that it is leading the way.
“When you look at what we’ve got, the way we now manage the engines and everything else, we’re now fielding a lot of inbound inquiry about what we’re doing,” Warburton told Speedcafe.com.
“People are looking at us and going ‘what a great system’. Don’t be confused by the ‘not invented here’ syndrome, we’ve actually done a pretty bloody good job.”
V8 Supercars will rely on its Engine Technical Advisory Panel – made up of representatives from engine builders throughout the pitlane – to work with its technical department on the Gen2 engine program.
That will be mirrored on the chassis front, where V8 Supercars must achieve aerodynamic parity across sedan and coupes under the similarly broadened body style eligibility.
Warburton expects the majority of teams to begin the 2017 season with their current engines, but is equally adamant that new-generation units will be on the grid from the outset.
“We’ve got three offers in terms of people (manufacturers) that want to build engines and start testing,” he said.
While manufacturers will be free to develop engines specifically for V8 Supercars competition, the concept has been structured such that pre-existing motors are the most likely to join.
“There’s three or four (engines) that we’ve seen that could be adapted relatively easily and I think if you look forward to the proposed DTM regulations from 2017 (2.0 litre, four-cylinder turbos), that provides another opportunity for re-use of either engines or technology from those manufacturers, should they be interested in being involved,” he said.
CLICK HERE for more with Warburton on Gen2 in this week’s Cafe Chat