Blanchard ‘nervous’ Supercars can’t deliver Gen3 for 2022
Tuesday 11th May, 2021 - 6:00am
Tim Blanchard is worried Supercars can’t roll out Gen3 in the timeframe it has earmarked, but hopes today’s crisis meeting will ease those concerns.
The meeting between Supercars and its teams will be crucial in understanding the state of play with Gen3, according to the Blanchard Racing Team boss.
Blanchard said he has been kept in the dark with regards to the status of Gen3.
Supercars is supposedly set to roll out its next-generation prototype midway through this year.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, the team co-owner said he is concerned Supercars isn’t leaving itself enough time to design, build, and develop the new car.
“I definitely want to see Gen3 happen, but I don’t think the desire to see it happen next year can outweigh achieving the objectives that need to be achieved for Gen3 to happen,” said Blanchard.
“I’m probably a little bit sceptical whether we can achieve what we need to achieve by the beginning of next season given the timeframe we’ve got to work together in.
“I’m definitely keen to see it happen, I’m just nervous that it’s [not] achievable in the timeframe we now have.”
“It’s definitely going to happen; when it happens or if it’s a hybrid version of what was originally thought, yeah, I don’t know,” he added.
“A lot has got to happen in a very short timeframe. I don’t think we’ve ticked a lot of goals in the last six months for a number of different reasons in terms of this project.
“To get this rolled out in time with the timeframes required, we need to have a bit of a change in the way we go about things.”
The Gen3 project has had a slew of setbacks over the past 18 months.
The coronavirus pandemic saw Supercars cut costs and furlough tens of staff.
Lockdowns and extended periods on the road saw the development of Gen3 take a back seat as the category sought to get the 2020 season away.
Recently, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer took charge of the Gen3 project. Shortly thereafter, category executive John Casey parted company with Supercars having previously steered Gen3.
Today’s meeting, which is set to be attended by most team owners either in person or via video call, will be crucial according to Blanchard.
“I think Tuesday is probably first and foremost about bringing the teams up to speed,” said Blanchard.
“There’s myself and a number of others that have had next to zero communication or information on Gen3 and what it looks like.
“I think the first thing is getting everyone up to speed as to where the project is actually at and then we can make decisions from there on what’s required.
“We made a big investment into Supercars in the last few years, especially this year starting our own team on our own,” he added.
“From our perspective, we’re getting asked a lot about what’s the direction, what’s happening. I think it’s important for every team in pit lane to get some clarity on it.”
Similarly, Kelly Grove Racing co-owner Todd Kelly wants to know the finer details of Gen3.
To date, Supercars has not come out publicly with the final specification of the next-generation car.
Specifics with regards to the engines that the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have not been finalised and there are still concerns that there will be parity issues.
Kelly said he has also been kept in the dark.
“It’s important for me because I know nothing about this car, as does half this pit lane from what I hear,” said Kelly of the meeting.
“There’s the big-ticket items of the project as a whole, but what I’m really interested in and what a few others are is just to find out some of the detail because it’s hard to get anything out of the Commission, the simple things.
“There’s a lot of rumours; what the cockpit does and doesn’t have inside it as an example. They’re actually small things but they are really important for what we are as a series and a category and a car.
“Like I said before, without the information at hand, there’s nothing that you can say. When you’ve got all the information, if it’s what we all expect then fantastic, if it’s not, then we’ll work out what we need to do.”
Like Blanchard, Kelly wants to make sure Gen3 is rolled out properly and isn’t against pushing back the introduction of it.
Rather, he would like Supercars to ensure it gets the next-generation car right.
“For me, when it happens is not such a big deal, it’s what it is we’re building,” said Kelly.
“You’ve got two completely different cars. If you haven’t got most of pit lane agreeing on, and the car’s not proven and tested and you don’t have the parity sorted and all those sorts of things, that’s a concern for me.
“If we can get all that done, it’s no issue from my end for us all to push and get the thing built. That’s what I’d like to get a little bit more info on how advanced we actually are in a lot of those things.”