Supercars Commissioner: Move away from V8s inevitable

Tuesday 10th April, 2018 - 6:00am

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The V6 twin-turbo was demonstrated in the Sandman at last year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000

Tickford Racing team principal and Supercars Commission member Tim Edwards believes that it is only a matter of time before alternative sources of power find their way into the championship.

Holden announced during the Tasmania Tyrepower SuperSprint weekend that it was suspending development of the General Motors V6 twin-turbo engine which had been set to debut in a wildcard entry at a handful of events this year.

The six-cylinder powerplant had in fact initially been scheduled for a full introduction this year in at least the Triple Eight’s factory-backed Red Bull Holden Racing Team ZB Commodores of Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen, a decision to scale that plan back was announced in June 2017.

Holden’s latest decision means that the V8, a mainstay of the championship for a quarter of a century, is currently set to power the entire field indefinitely.

The Lion’s Executive Director of Marketing, Mark Harland, put the call down to the success of the new ZB so far, as well as a desire to seek clarity on where the rest of category is headed with respect to engines.

Harland raised the question of electrification, which Edwards believes is inevitable even if he would not nominate a specific timeframe.

“There’s plenty of discussion about it, electrification and hybridisation and all that sort of stuff,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“There are conversations going on about that all the time so there’s no doubt it’ll happen but I don’t know whether it’s going to be two years, three years, five years, but there will be a point in time.

“That’s the way the manufacturers are going and that’s the way that Formula 1 is and you see it in global motorsport so we can’t take our eye off the ball.

“It’s something that the category’s aware that they need to consider, so that’s why the conversations are taking place.

“It’s not that we’re just putting our head in the sand and thinking, ‘Oh, we’re just going to race V8s until the end of time.’

“We all know that’s not the case so it (electrification) will come, I just can’t tell you when.”

Garry Rogers retains his enthusiasm for the V8 and said that his team would have continued to run with the naturally-aspirated engine even if Holden had pressed on with plans for the turbo.

However, he is open to the possibility of moving to another engine if it proves the most competitive option.

“My view with the engine and the V6 turbos versus the V8s is that we wouldn’t have changed anyway, we as a team would have stuck with the V8s,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com.

“But if the other Holden teams changed to the V6 and went better then we would be forced to either get a new manufacturer for ourselves or change engines, because you can’t come with something that isn’t up to the job.”

He put his stance down to pragmatism and noted the technical freedom which the championship’s Gen 2 regulations allow despite having so far only been taken up to the extent that Holden’s Supercar is now a five-door hatchback.

“I don’t think they’re (V8s) necessary,” he said.

“I think it’s great that they’re there and it’s great that they’ve worked, but the fact of the matter is you can have any engine you want now, and to be quite frank I don’t think people understand that.

“We can go and put whatever engine we like so long as it mates up with the chassis and so long as it meets the car’s technical parity judgement, and they’re (Supercars technical staff) bloody good at that.”

Holden’s V6 twin-turbo is on ‘hold’ “until the timing is right,” according to Harland.

Speedcafe.com has been established to provide a daily motorsport news service to the industry and fans in Australia and internationally.

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