Supercars won’t rush hybrid introduction under Gen3

An artist’s impression of a Gen3-spec Ford Mustang

Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard says there is no rush to electrify the championship under Gen3.

Supercars is set to introduce a new chassis in 2022, which will have provision for hybrid elements.

While the chassis will be capable of housing such equipment, Supercars is not looking to go electric as soon as next year.

Howard said Supercars is keeping an eye on the global development of hybrid technology, which remains relatively scarce at domestic level competition outside of Australia.

At the highest level, hybrid-powered Le Mans prototypes began emerging in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the early 2010s.

Formula 1 went fully hybrid in 2014, but introduced the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in 2009, which was used until the transition to turbocharged V6 engines.

The British Touring Car Championship, which also utilises an Xtrac six-speed sequential seen in Supercars, is set to go hybrid in 2022.

The IndyCar Series will also begin using hybrid technology in 2023 when it introduces a new 2.4-litre V6 twin-turbo package with KERS.

Like Supercars, NASCAR has future-proofed its ‘Next Gen’ car to allow for the introduction of hybrid componentry.

Speaking with select media, including Speedcafe.com, Howard said Supercars is evaluating its options.

“We’re not against it,” said Howard.

“As long as it doesn’t affect what fans want to see.

“As I think Sean [Seamer, Supercars CEO] said, we’re not leading the charge with hybrid.

“Technology changes so quickly […] our cars will be able to be adapted to that.

“Obviously they’re always looking at energy recovery systems and then what you do with that energy. All that’s being considered on how that’s adapted to the car in the future.

“But obviously we’re monitoring everything that’s happening in that world and making sure that we can implement it when we need to.”

What hybridisation of the championship might look like remains to be seen.

Supercars is investigating introducing a throttle-based push-to-pass as soon as next year, though hybridisation could fulfil that need.

A Formula 1-style constant power supply complementary to the internal combustion engine is also an option.

Asked what the catalyst for Supercars going electric might be, Howard said once the category has a better understanding of hybridisation then it will look to make the move.

“I just think it’s reasonably early stages, and things change so quickly,” he explained.

“Once everybody is more aligned with what the best systems are, then what’s the best outcome for using and harnessing the energy, it’ll be great if it can be used to improve and complement the racing.”

Howard said the championship won’t make any sudden moves to introduce the technology, even if there is a push for it by a manufacturer.

“I think we just consult with all our stakeholders and there’s a process of evaluation on how we implement changes.

“We don’t have any knee-jerk reaction to anything really.”

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