Ford wants more manufacturers in Supercars
Tuesday 4th October, 2022 - 6:00am
Ford Australia would like to see more competition in the Repco Supercars Championship so it can prove itself against more brands.
The category is set to enter a new era in 2023 with the introduction of the Gen3 formula at the season-opening Newcastle 500 from March 10-12.
Gen3 represents a prime opportunity to get into the sport, with the new ruleset offering a clean slate for teams and manufacturers.
Only the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang will compete in Supercars for the first year of Gen3, despite a significant lead-in time to its introduction with COVID delays.
Ford’s Vice President of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) Product Programs, Trevor Worthington, encouraged more brand participation.
Asked directly whether he would like to see Toyota and Nissan get involved in Gen3, Worthington said: “Absolutely, always. The more the merrier.
“Because we want to prove ourselves against the best, that’s what we do, that’s the whole point of it.
“So I absolutely encourage competition because you’re going to get more punters, it’s going to make the sport bigger.
“The fact there’s only one real competitor [Camaro] and it’s not a real car — a mainstream car — that’s not a reason not to be in it.”
Nissan has been represented on the grid as recently as 2019, and was involved in a factory capacity for the six seasons immediately prior to that, though has all but closed the door.
In August, Nissan Australia’s boss dismissed the possibility the Japanese brand will return with its new Z sports car, which would seemingly be the most market-relevant rival to take on the Mustang and Camaro.
Toyota has involvement in Supercars as a support category, with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series managed by AirTime Media under the leadership of Neil Crompton.
One would expect the Toyota Supra would be the brand’s most likely Supercar.
However, it has been reported that the company is not considering a factory-backed Supercars campaign with Gen3.
While encouraging more brands to get involved, Worthington would still only like to see V8s competing.
Notably, Ford’s Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, Mark Rushbrook, recently declared it is not advocating for electrification in Supercars.
Both the Nissan and Toyota examples are six-cylinder turbos.
“That’s a different question,” said Worthington when asked if he is open to competitors without V8 engines.
“Because you’ve got to make sure, whether it’s balance of performance or ‘here’s a set of rules go do the best you can’.
“Having experienced the challenges of balance of performance, when you don’t have the same engine architecture it becomes very, very problematic.
“You don’t want to be arguing before and after the race.”
Then Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said late last year the category was to stay V8 ‘loud and proud’, dismissing any possibility of the sport opening up engine regulations as part of Gen3.
Triple Eight and Holden Motorsport had been working in partnership to develop a V6 twin-turbo, though that project was formally scrapped in 2018.