A new racecar, a new series, and a new direction have been unveiled for the future of V8 touring car racing in New Zealand
Kiwi V8 racing star Greg Murphy ushered in a prototype of the all-new V8SuperTourer racecar to prospective teams in Auckland on 16 February.
Designed and built by Paul Ceprnich, of Pace Innovations Australia, the prototype utilises a VE Commodore body mounted on a purpose-built monocoque chassis. It is 90% complete, requiring only the electronics, plumbing and other minor parts to be completed before the car’s first official test scheduled in six weeks time. V8SUPERTOURERS LTD is a company formed by current NZV8 team owners Mark Petch, Wayne Anderson and Garry Pedersen. The aim of the company is to build a new generation, future-proofed V8 touring car, similar in concept to a current Australian V8 Supercar but at less than half the cost.
The monocoque chassis, like the Australian V8 Supercar ‘car of the future’ or COFT project, is built to not only accommodate both the current VE Commodore and FG Falcon bodies, but any other similar sized four-dour production vehicle such a Toyota Camry, BMW 5 series, etc. Interested vehicle manufacturers of four-door saloon cars of a similar size to the Holden VE and Ford FG models can apply for homologation to race in the V8SuperTourier series.
The V8SuperTourer utilises a strictly-controlled, ‘one make’, all-alloy, fuel injected and dry sumped 7-litre V8 ST engine. The power-plant is derived from the Le Mans C6R Corvette programme and hand-built in America. It delivers some 550hp at 6,800rpm and is expected to have a racing life of 10,000 racing kilometres before requiring maintenance. This engine is identical to that of the Mosler Automotive’s current and very successful GT3 sports-car.
The drive-train consists of a triple-plate clutch, which delivers engine torque through a Quaife 6-speed sequential transmission via a two-piece pro-shaft feeding a classic 9’ Ford differential, which is fitted with a Torsen-style limited slip, crown wheel carrier assembly in order to provide excellent traction in most conditions.
The rear suspension adopts the proven, yet simple in design and maintenance, three-link live rear axle fitted with camber and toe, CV style, floating rear hubs.
The front suspension is a sophisticated ‘clean sheet’, double wishbone layout that is also cleverly symmetrical from left to right, thus reducing spares’ inventories, etc. Both the front and rear suspension oscillations are dampened by adjustable bump and rebound shock absorbers fitted with adjustable spring platforms.
The rack and pinion power steering assembly is mounted ahead of the engine in order to better optimise the front suspension geometry and the high loads generated under long distance racing events.
The V8SuperTourer uses 11x18’ forged alloy wheels carrying 280 x 680 x 18’ racing slicks or wet weather radial tyres.
The brake rotors are, in the front, 355mm ventilated and 328 mm in the rear, fitted with forged billet alloy brake callipers and F1 style brake-ducting. The brake package combines to stop the comparatively light car, which has an all up weight, including driver, of less than 1,300kg.
The V8SuperTourer is designed to have performance similar to that of a current Australian V8 Supercar and is specifically designed for both sprint and long distance, enduro style racing with its 120-litre capacity fuel cell.
The inaugural V8SuperTourer series starts in New Zealand in February 2012 and finishes sometime in November 2012. Up to eight rounds will be run at circuits around New Zealand during that time with the annual series incorporating a mixture of sprint and endurance races. The series calendar will be designed to avoid clashing with the Australian V8 Supercars Championship and the Motorsport NZ summer series.
At the February pre-launch, teams were invited to indicate their intention of purchasing a new V8SuperTourer. The maximum field is 28 cars and 12 team owners were quick to register their interest, evenly split between six VE Commodores and six FG Falcons. Indications are that up to 24 new cars will have been sold by the time the series kicks of in February next year.
V8SUPERTOURERS LTD will release more details on the series, race formats, dates and TV coverage in the coming weeks.