FIRST PICTURES: Bathurst V8 ‘Mustang’

A spy photograph of the MARC II V8 has obtained exclusive spy shots of the first V8-powered 2018 ‘Mustang’ being constructed in Australia.

The car, which utilises many components from the current Supercar, is set to turn a wheel in anger for the first time in coming days and will make its debut in the Invitational class at next month’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

Carrying a distinct Mustang theme, including 2018-look front and rear bars, the car being constructed at MARC Cars Australia’s Queensland base is one of four new MARC Cars, officially known as the MARC II V8.

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It is understood to be powered by the same 5.2-litre Coyote engine which features in the GT350 Mustang, potentially achieving output of 620hp.

Previous reports have put the MARC II as not only more powerful than its predecessors but also lighter.

According to a source close to the project, the MARC II uses the same Albins transaxle as a Supercar but comes with paddle shifts rather than a stick shift.

Likewise, the chassis is manufactured by Supercars supplier PACE Innovations.

Retail price is believed to be in the $300,000 to $350,000 range, as compared to approximately $600,000 for a brand new Supercar.

Original goals for Supercars’ current specification, then known as Car of the Future, included a cost reduction to $250,000 per rolling chassis (ie mechanicals not included).

Three of the MARC IIs are set to make their debuts in the Bathurst 12 Hour, but it is believed that the SPX class of the Creventic 24H Series is the main target.

The new-specification V8s will also be allowed to lap Mount Panorama at 2:06s, four seconds per lap faster than the original MARC Cars. contacted MARC Cars Australia boss Ryan McLeod, who would not shed any light on the project.

“We’re making no comment until we run the car next week,” said McLeod.

MARC used November’s Challenge Bathurst as a test run for some of the new components which have gone into the MARC IIs.

The event came just a week after the end of its two-race trip to the United States, an obvious market for the car.

MARC entered two Mazda3-bodied V8s in October’s California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca and the 24H COTA, finishing eight laps ahead of the lead GT4 car which ran in the former.

New Erebus Motorsport Supercars co-driver Will Brown, who is set to pilot one of the MARC IIs, was one of a number of drivers recently announced for MARC’s 12 Hour effort.

The Bathurst 12 Hour takes place on February 2-4.

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