The V8 tag is going, but the engines are here stay.
That’s according to boss James Warburton, who confirmed the championship will be changing its name early after securing a new title sponsor.
The series will simply be known as Supercars from July 1, six months before new “Gen2” rules are introduced next year.
The changes allow engines other than V8s and new car shapes, including two-door coupes, to race.
Ditching the ‘V8’ reference had always been part of the rebranding plan, which began with a new logo at the end of 2014.
But Warburton said now was the right time to make the switch with the announcement of a multi-million dollar, five-year naming rights deal with airline Virgin Australia.
It means the series will be officially known as the Virgin Australian Supercars Championship.He believed the early name change will help make the transition to a new era of racing easier for fans - but insists little will change in the short term.
“We’re more than likely to have absolutely no change in 2017,” he told AAP on Wednesday.
“I don’t think there’ll ever be a time when there’s not a V8 engine in the Supercars category.
“People don’t even call it V8 Supercars, they call it V8s. It’s always been in the Australian vernacular and will continue to be.
“But as manufacturers move away from that power plant, and if we want manufacturers involved in our sport and if we want to put an aggressive, close touring car category together then it’s also about overall sustainability and future-proofing the sport.”
It’s the first time the Australian touring car championship has had a title sponsor since Shell backed the competition for several years until 2001.
They’ve had no main series backer for the past three seasons.
Meanwhile, Volvo has reportedly committed to the sport for at least another three years.
The Swedish car manufacturer has agreed to a deal with Garry Rogers Motorsport from 2017, according to News Corp Australia.
It would make them the first brand on the grid to lock in their support beyond this year when the new eligibility rules come into effect.