The Supercars championship could soon feature electrified powertrains according to documents from the category’s new ownership group.
Last week it was announced that RACE, a group comprising TGI Sport chief executive Barclay Nettlefold, TLA Australia chief executive Craig Kelly, Mark Skaife, Henslaw, and the Australian Racing Group (ARG) was confirmed as the category’s new owners.
Australian outlet Auto Action intercepted an investment document from RACE that had been issued by Melbourne investment firm FIIG. In it, it details that the category’s new 2023 Gen 3 platform is “hybrid ready” in a move to retain international “relevance and sustainability”.
It would be a landmark switch for the Supercars, which has been based solely on naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8s ever since it switched away from the Group A formula in 1993.
In the new-car world, V8s are starting to go the way of the dodo. Although Ford has said it will keep producing V8s as long as possible, manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz have started to phase them out (the next generation AMG C63, for example, will switch from a V8 to a turbocharged four-cylinder).
Going hybrid doesn’t necessarily mean the death of V8s in Supercars, however. The series could preserve the noise of its current cars, but add supporting hybrid technologies like regenerative braking. Alternatively, it could also go the other way and require cars to feature a comprehensive hybrid powertrain.
Supercars is not the only tin-top series weighing up hybrid technology. The British Touring Car Championship already has a functioning Toyota Corolla hybrid prototype, which it uniquely entered in selected rounds of the series last year as part of its testing.
Supercars has long struggled to attract other manufacturers to its fold, with this latest document perhaps revealing that this is in part due to the traditional nature of the cars the series uses.
In 2013 Nissan joined the series, with Erebus Motorsport also bringing in its own in-house Mercedes-AMG E 63s. A year later Volvo’s Polestar brand joined the series. But all three alternative flavours have since departed.