S5000 cars to be made ‘less intimidating’

The S5000 field at Phillip Island. Picture: Australian Racing Group

Australian Racing Group co-owner Barry Rogers has flagged technical changes aimed at repositioning S5000 in the national motorsport landscape.

The V8-powered open-wheelers have struggled to gather the kind of momentum that had been hoped, with grid sizes dropping into single digits at times this year.

Rogers has previously touted selling the category as an undesirable but possible outcome, but hopes a new plan will avoid such a need.

Central to that will be putting more of a focus on S5000 being an option for up-and-coming talent.

“What we have found, to be honest, is we thought it was probably an option for guys who maybe have done a bit of Super2 and things and thought ‘I’ll do something different’,” Rogers explained to Speedcafe.com.

“The problem we get there is, you get guys step back down into these – and this isn’t anything against them – but if they’re not winning and they’re getting beaten by some of these young guns like Cooper Webster and Blake Purdie, they feel like it harms what people think about them so they don’t stick at it.

“So maybe it is more about getting some younger ones into them and we’re planning on some changes to the car that will make them potentially a little bit less intimidating for the younger guys.

“We’re just going to work on that now and getting a plan together to try to really get some momentum behind it.

“I’ve said it before, we don’t want to lose these cars from Australia. These cars are an awesome car. If they go, we’ll never get high-powered open-wheelers back here again.”

Improving driveability, or lessening the intimidation factor, is set to be achieved by changes to areas including tyres and suspension.

“There’s all sorts of options,” said Rogers.

“The tyre we race on is a very, very exciting tyre – it just gets faster and faster and faster as qualifying goes on and as the race goes on, and it’s one set a weekend which is good.

“But I think potentially we need to look at a change there and give the car more grip early on, if that’s the right term, not have to wait so long for the tyre to come on, looking at things there.

“Stefan [Millard, Garry Rogers Motorsport team manager] looks after all that stuff for us at work, he’s been talking to Hoosier, it’s been an ongoing thing over the last few weeks and we think they are onto something there that we’re going to do.

“There are some engineering changes to the suspension of the car as well that we think will be of benefit, so we are just going to work on all of that and hopefully in September we’ll ratify all of those things we need to do and be ready to go come October on the Gold Coast.”

Having cut the 2022 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship short to finish last month at Darwin rather than in September at Sandown, there’s now a window of opportunity for such modifications to be made ahead of the end-of-year Tasman Series.

At this stage, the Tasman Series will involve stops at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 and Supercheap Auto Bathurst International, with the reborn Adelaide 500 shaping as a possible third and final leg.

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