V8 Supercars says the turbo V6 it is developing is crucial to putting together the Gen2 regulations that will come into effect for the 2017 season.
The new rules will allow non-V8 engines to be used in the category, in a bid to open up Australia’s top-tier of touring car racing to carmakers who don’t have a suitable eight cylinder engine in their production line.
In order to help shape the new regulations, V8 Supercars itself has commissioned engine builder Craig Hasted to develop a turbo V6 motor – as was first confirmed by Motorsport.com back in May.
The test engine will also play its part in providing parameters for parity measuring.
“To build rules without actually physically being able to practically do it, is just impossible,” said Hasted.
“Part B is to put the engine in the car and actually prove the on-track performance compared to the current cars.
“We’re all anti-change, but I think once [the teams] see it going and see it working properly, I think we’ll see more and more. In actual fact, I can see over the next five years, over 50 per cent of the teams will be on the Gen2 rules.
“The Car of the Future was a massive change. All teams had to basically build completely new cars. This is just two additions.
“For some teams it will make no difference at all, for others it will just be an engine change, some will be a body and an engine change.”
Noise a key factor
In a bid to avoid a Formula 1-style controversy regarding engine note, V8 Supercars has been proactive on the issue of noise since announcing the Gen2 plans. In fact, in the draft regulations there is even a minimum exhaust note level of 85 decibels.
"The Gen2 V6 has a different noise, is just as ‘grunty’ and just as fierce and ferocious as the current V8s,” said Hasted.
“They’ll meet the power-levels easily. The V8 engines aren’t going down in power, the Gen2 engines have to come up to that power. They’ll achieve the power relatively easily, and they’ll be competitive straight off the bat.
“The V6 will have its own note and if we see a four-cylinder, it will have its own note as well – but they’ll still be just as loud.
“A lot of noise we hear when the cars are on the race tracks is exhaust noise and engine noise – the engine noise won’t change, in actual fact it will probably be louder.
“The exhaust noise, we’re working with that and have mandated a minimum decibel level to ensure that the noise level will be no different.”
Not the death of V8s
V8 Supercars has also been very vocal on the longevity of the V8 engine in the sport, with Hasted adding that the turbo V6 is about giving manufacturers fresh options, not killing off the eight cylinder engine.
“Will this be the end of the V8 engine? Absolutely not,” he added.
“The V8 will be around for as long as manufacturers or the fans want it to be around and there is a need to race it.
“What we’re doing with Gen2 is creating an opportunity for alternative configurations, which will add to the colour and spectacle of our category.”