Details of V8 Supercar's Car of the Future have been announced, following a year and a half study into the sport's cars in an effort to reduce costs and potentially attract new manufacturers.
The essence of the current breed of V8 Supercars – developed under "Project Blueprint" that further increased commonality between the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon racecars – remains, but there have also been alterations to help allow other manufacturers to join the series, with the changes scheduled to take place by the 2012 season at the latest.
The requirement for the road car to be locally produced and rear-wheel drive no longer applies, allowing both local manufacturers of front-wheel-drive cars and overseas manufacturers the opportunity to join the series. However, any new entrant's car will still need to be a four-door sedan in volume production.
The racecar will continue looking substantially similar to the road car, excluding the parity-controlled aero add-ons, while the the cost of building a car will be reduced to approximately 250,000 Australian dollars ($228,000), helping keep current teams and manufacturers involved, as well as helping to attract new ones.
A naturally aspirated V8 engine will still be a requirement, but new manufacturers will be able to modify their own existing engines or possibly re-badge an engine under an equalization formula that will match it against the current 5.0-liter Holden and Ford powerplants, potentially leading to smaller capacity but higher-tech engines.
All cars will use a control floor plan and roll cage, as well as control suspension, steering, gearbox and brakes. However, there are some changes, with the rear suspension to move from a live axle located by a Watt's link to an independent system, as well as a possible move from a spool differential to a locking type.
A surprising change is that they increased the diameter of the wheel to 18 inches. This is surprising because the series has always used 17in. wheels and is currently in the process of making every team use an identical 17in. control wheel before the end of this season, less than two years before these scheduled changes.
In a bid to improve safety, polycarbonate windscreens will replace glass ones and the fuel tank will move from its traditional location behind the rear axle to forward of the rear axle, reducing the chance of fire in a rear-end collision.
The driver's position in the car is also expected to change, with a move farther inboard likely, to help protect the driver better against heavy side impacts, as well as changes to the roll cage and side impact protection to provide further safety for the driver.
There will also be a fairly substantial weight reduction, with the minimum weight of a car moving from its current 1,355kg limit to somewhere between 1,200 and 1,250kg.