Uncertainty over Supercars engine supply

There is uncertainty around the future of in-house engine programmes in Supercars ahead of the introduction of the Gen3 ruleset.

Uncertainty over Supercars engine supply
Listen to this article

Under the existing regulations teams are free to buy, lease or build homologated V8 engines, with a mix of specialist builders and in-house programmes powering the field.

KRE Race Engines supplies units to the likes of Triple Eight and Brad Jones Racing, while Mostech Race Engines has an exclusive deal with Dick Johnson Racing.

Tickford Racing, Kelly Grove Racing and Walkinshaw Andretti United all have in-house engine shops that provide motors for both their own teams and a number of customers across Supercars and Super2. That includes a customer deal between WAU and fellow Holden squad Erebus Motorsport.

However there are question marks over the future of engine supply beyond the current season.

According to Supercars, dyno testing on the new-spec Chevrolet and Ford V8s, based on cost-effective crate motors, has already started. It's widely rumoured, but not confirmed, that the engine partners of homologation teams T8 (KRE) and DJR (Mostech) have built the prototype units under development.

That's left teams running in-house engine shops uncertain if they'll be able to continue to build their own engines next season, or if there will be a single control engine supplier per manufacturer.

That there's been no tender for engine supply issued by Supercars has raised further questions from teams, given testing is already underway and KRE and Mostech appear to have been engaged. 

When asked by Motorsport.com if he expects KGR to have a main game engine programme next season co-owner Todd Kelly said: "It doesn't look like it. In saying that, I haven't been told anything official from anyone.

"As far as I understand it someone is building the engines, and there's been no tender, nothing. We would have potentially been a position to tender for the Ford side.

"We haven't really had any direct dialogue on the actual engine or anything like that. Who do we get it off? Ford? A supplier? Supercars?

"Someone has obviously got it under control somewhere. Because I'm guessing there's a heap of engines that will be dished out at the end of the year. It's a big job. But there's not been much communication at all for what we're responsible for. Things like ducting, does it come with a wiring loom, all that stuff.

"All we know is that it's happening. But not how it's happening."

Read Also:

WAU team principal Bruce Stewart said that the current lack of clarity over engine supply and in-house programmes is disconcerting for his team.

"I believe that Supercars engines is clearly a topic that’s currently a little disconcerting for teams in the industry who have invested a lot of significant time, money, resource and passion into Supercars engine programmes," he told Motorsport.com.

"We understand that the sport will be trying to reduce the costs and challenges out of the engines, which is a very good thing. However engine programmes are a big part of the category's DNA. And they certainly are a strong part of the Walkinshaw DNA.

"Don't get me wrong, we absolutely want to the Gen3 programme to go ahead. It brings a new level of excitement and creates a new energy around Supercars. But, where possible, we don't want to leave valued parts of our DNA and team behind. Currently, there is some uncertainty about that.

"I haven't seen a tender come around. We have a lot of people in our business who are nervous and worried about it, and I completely understand. Not knowing creates tension. There are other engine builders in the business who I imagine might be asking the same questions."

Regardless of the outcome none of the affected teams are looking at shutting down their current programmes entirely, with Super2, which will continue to use the existing engines, likely to keep the doors open in some capacity.

"Our intention is to keep the engine programme going, although we don't know what the scale of it will be," said Tickford boss Tim Edwards. "We have our own Super2 programme and other Super2 customers so it makes sense for it to stay open."

Kelly added: "We'll keep our engine shop going. We're doing Ford engines and all the Nissan engines [in Super2], so we've got a handful of other customers."

Stewart, meanwhile, said WAU may even look beyond motorsport should it not be building main game Supercars engines anymore.

"It means that we're trying to understand what other opportunities are there," he added. "Whether that's in Super 2 and/or in manufacturer land."


Related video

Crompton makes Supercars comeback
Previous article

Crompton makes Supercars comeback

Next article

Reynolds surprised by fume inhalation

Reynolds surprised by fume inhalation
Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match Prime

Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match

James Courtney has been around the block in his motorsport career it's fair to say. After a single-seater career cut short, he's won everything there is to win in Supercars. Following a rocky ride recently in the Australian category, he's found a happy hunting ground with Tickford Racing.

Oct 21, 2021
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Sep 17, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Dec 18, 2020