The Australian Supercars series might still be powered by V8 engines as we enter the post-Holden era, but its newly released Gen3 cars are still getting ready for a swap to hybrid power sometime in the near future. We’ll outline how.
No, Holden won’t be competing in the Supercars series, but the series has confirmed that Ford will bring its Mustang and Chevy will enter its Camaro in 2022.
The goal is to keep the cars as close to stock as possible, largely in terms of dimensions, in order to swap key body parts like doors, hoods, windows, and roofs. Basically, the series wants to return to its more traditional roots and to also keep developmental costs down for everyone involved. Supercars notes that it’s “aiming to reduce acquisition and operating costs by between 30 and 40 per cent.”
Base chassis will also be smaller to enable the cars to be a little more dexterous but also to encourage more manufacturers. Downforce will be reduced, and Dunlop is developing new tires to make that happen.
IT'S OFFICIAL: Chevrolet model confirmed under new Gen3 rules ????
— Supercars (@supercars) October 14, 2020
When it comes to hybrid readiness, though, the new chassis are already designed with a cavity for a battery pack. The minute Supercars decides it’s changing its power structure, it can pop in a hybrid system no problem.
The series is also looking to implement hybridisation in a variety of different ways. From John Casey, the Gen3 taskforce boss:
The options are you could use the electric power in the pits, you could use it as a compliment to your internal combustion engine delivering power all the time, or you could use it in a push-to-pass context.
For example, if there was 100 horsepower of electric power, 50 of it could be available at all times, 50 could be available push-to-pass.
That’s just a hypothesis — Casey stressed that there is no official policy in place yet. He just wants to get the most out of the possible new technology.
He also stressed that he wants people to know the hybrid system is there. So, we’re probably not going to see a power unit that produces a meager amount of electric power just to bolster performance. It needs to play a key role.
“You have an obligation, if you’re describing your power train as being hybridised, for the electric component to be a material contribution to the overall power,” Casey said.
Right now, there isn’t a set timeline dictating when we might see a hybrid Supercar event, and part of the delay comes from the desire to keep costs down. A whole new power system isn’t exactly cheap, but Supercars is making the transition a little easier by mandating small changes to ease everyone into the final leap.