Dick Johnson sceptical on Gen 2 Supercars plan
Dick Johnson has emerged as a vocal opponent of the proposed Gen 2 regulations that aim to mix body shapes and engine configurations in V8 Supercars from 2017.
The category’s white paper, announced late last year, detailed plans to open up the rulebook to see V8 engines run against four and six cylinder turbo powerplants.
Body styles too will no longer be mandated, with coupes competing against four door sedans, providing the two-door models conform to four-seat road car configuration.
Johnson has become the first opponent of the revolutionary new era to make his views public.
Speaking at a DJR Team Penske press conference, Johnson shook his head when Speedcafe.com posed a question to Roger Penske what his thoughts were on opening the championship up to multiple engine configurations.
When later pressed for his views, Johnson raised the spectre of the pre-V8 Supercars era, which saw a variety of cars feature under international Group A regulations.
“I’ve been around motorsport a long time and I think that we are revisiting something that didn’t work,” Johnson said.
“When you have a look here on Saturday and Sunday and the number of people who sit on those stands… the day they (the engines) don’t sound like they do today will be a sad day.”
Penske’s noted the potential difficulty of equalising power and aerodynamics, but applauded the desire to appeal to more manufacturers.
“It’s going to be difficult because when you try and equalise aerodynamics and power, it’s going to be tough,” Penske said in response to Speedcafe.com’s question.
“But what it will do is open it up to more manufacturers, which will only make the sport stronger. I applaud the organisation to move forward on that.
“I don’t know the extent of the rule changes but you’ve got overhead camshaft engines, pushrod engines, two-doors and four-doors so I think at the end of the day it’s got to be a combination.”
Penske confirmed that the new DJR Team Penske entity will look at opportunities to switch manufacturers, which possibly could coincide with the fresh regulations in 2017.
“We are here as a Ford team (in 2015) because Dick was with Ford and we raced Fords in the US,” Penske said.
“But we are going to look at the landscape and if there are other opportunities we will definitely take a look at it.”