The Future is Now – The New Gen V8 Supercar
After the successful debut of the New Generation V8 Supercars last season, the Championship welcomes Volvo for 2014.
One of the goals of the New Generation model was to open up the grid to new manufacturers. In 2013 Nissan and Mercedes-Benz AMG entered the category, and this year another marque debuts at the season opener, the Clipsal 500.
Previously known as the ‘Car of the Future’ the extensive three-year project had a number of aims:
- Ensure the long-term viability and growth of the sport.
- Make cars cheaper to build and repair. Make cars safer, lighter and stronger.
- Increase the motoring market relevance of V8 Supercars.
- Maintain the ‘DNA’ of V8 Supercars (V8 engines, rear wheel drive etc).
- Increase the number of V8 Supercars events in the future in a condensed calendar across multiple countries.
- Ensure higher quality racing.
Two prototype cars – one Falcon and one Commodore – were built, tested and developed with the sponsorship support of Dunlop in 2011.
They were used for a range of component testing as well as comparative aerodynamic testing with the Nissan and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG racecars prior to their debut.
Even over the 2013 season, the protoypes continued to be of relevance, used for promotional running in Austin, Texas, and to conduct a tyre ratification test at the Phillip Island circuit after a resurface.
Six-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner and former V8 Supercars Commission Chairman Mark Skaife oversaw the development of the original NG concept before a key team of engineers, designers, car builders, V8 Supercar team personnel and drivers worked on the project, which was officially unveiled at the 2011 Sydney Telstra 500 grand finale.
So what’s different about a 2013 COTF car versus a 2012-model V8 Supercar?
- Fixed chassis design and specification. All chassis are dimensionally identical, but different accredited vehicle builders can construct them.
- Engine mounted 100mm further back and down. Protects engine in case of frontal impact and improves weight distribution.
- Increase in wheel and tyre size to 18-inch. Bigger brakes can therefore also be fitted.
- Windscreen becomes polycarbonate. It’s 250 times stronger than glass.
- Collapsible steering column with collapsible section in engine bay, not in the cabin.
- Different transmission, moving to a transaxle, which incorporates the differential and gearbox in one assembly.
- Adoption of IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) with control pickup points and a control specification of uprights and wishbones.
- Fuel cell moved further forward in the car to protect from rear impacts.