Supercars investigating chassis change for two-door models

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Supercars investigating chassis change for two-door models
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Mar 7, 2019, 5:28 AM

Supercars is investigating a change to its control chassis for 2021, in a bid to simplify the introduction of two-door models to the series.

The current control chassis, introduced as part of the Car of the Future regulations in 2013, was designed specifically for four-door cars, which is all that was eligible in Supercars at the time.

The recent introduction of the Ford Mustang – the first two-door model to make use of the Gen2 rules – has highlighted issues with running a coupe over the current chassis, thanks to the height of the roll hoop, through its polarising looks.

As first reported by Motorsport.com, the reaction to the Mustang has also harpooned plans for Walkinshaw Andretti United to bring the Camaro into the series – at least until the chassis regulations are changed to be more friendly to two-door body shapes.

Supercars is now investigating what its next move will be in terms of a control chassis, with CEO Sean Seamer admitting the 'grunt work' has started on what the hardware may look like from 2021 onwards.

"The process that we are going through right now is trying to make sure we have enduring market relevance in what we are racing out there and we have the most opportunity for a different number of marques," said Seamer.

"We have got about 20 different CAD files that the technical department are working through and dropping those files on the chassis and seeing what changes would need to be made to accommodate the maximum number of vehicles.

"But this is a process where we are doing some work right now, but we really need to take this back to put to our OEM manufacturer partners to get their feedback on what that looks like.

"We are just doing a bit of grunt work right now to understand what the opportunities might be and we can take that back to [the relevant manufacturers] and get their feedback on that, and make sure what we are doing and what we are looking to do has longevity.

"Measure twice and cut once.

"Race cars look good low fat and wide, of course. Let’s get through the work and see what we come up with."

Ford Performance boss Mark Rushbrook, who was in Adelaide to watch the new Mustang make a perfect 300-point debut, said he was on board for changes to be made, as long as it came after consultation with the manufacturers involved.

"I think we have some understanding of where we would like to see it go and maybe when," he said.

"But I think, as Sean went through, they are taking the right approach to study and understand across different OEMs what is best for the future of the series, and then to work with partners to work out how to get there and when."

Tickford and DJR Team Penske, the teams that combined with Ford Performance to build the Mustang, both offered support to the idea of a more two-door-friendly platform.

"It is a bit like the Car of The Future process I think; the amount of work and engineering development that needs to go into the platform before we can make a decision is immense," said DJRTP boss Ryan Story.

"It is something that all of the teams support and we have spoken about at length on many levels, and [we] support the direction the series is going."

Tickford CEO Tim Edwards added: "If you roll the clock to when we introduced Car of the Future, that really started in 2010 and 2011, so it is a very long process.

"And as Sean and his team make some decisions, or think they have arrived at a point, that is when they will consult with the teams.

"We are all open-minded about it as we were almost 10 years ago with the introduction of Car of the Future."

There is less urgency on the Holden side of the fence, however, with the four-door ZB Commodore perfectly suited to the current chassis.

According to GM Holden marketing director Kristian Aquilina, the brand currently has no strong stance on whether the existing platform should stay or go.

"I honestly haven't given it a lot of thought," said Aquilina.

"Our immediate concerns are around making sure we're competitive with the chassis we've got, that's where it stops in terms of my own personal consideration.

"At some point if there is dialogue and a forum set up to address these specific items, we'll go through that in that forum rather than discussing any ideas that might come to mind now."

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen