Is this the future of NZ motorsport? Gen II Kiwi V8s revealed
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The future face of Kiwi touring-car racing has been under a microscope for a number of years now. What will it look like, how much will it cost, and how will it put bums on seats all valid questions that have been asked in the process.
Well, the BNT V8s have drawn their line in the sand, with their latest announcement of a 'Gen-II' package for future championships (potentially as soon as next season).
The series is planning to open up the rule book to include two-door platforms as well as the current four-door ones. Currently Holden Commodores, Ford Falcons, Toyota Camrys, a Nissan Altima, and (sporadically) a Hyundai i45 feature in the series. But they could soon be joined or replaced by Chevrolet Camaros, Dodge Challengers, Ford Mustangs, or whatever platform teams decide to build off.
It's a championship that's struggled in recent years, as it's weathered the political NZV8s versus NZ SuperTourers tin-top storm — a fiasco that cost the sport in both sponsor faith and fan support. But, the BNT V8s have been rebuilding one step behind the other, and the current season has seen an influx of younger drivers from New Zealand and abroad take to the grid.
What the category will also hope to avoid is some of the curious proportions that have dogged the build of the Supercars Championship Ford Mustang across the ditch. Either way, even if they looked a bit ... err ... wonky, a grid of Kiwi-built current two-door muscle cars would be a heck of a sight.
“A lot of time and effort has been put into looking at the future of the class, with it seen as important for the cars to remain current and relevant and having new look cars on the track,” says Category Manager Gary Lathrope.
“Nick Mitchell from Mitchell Race Xtreme and Luke Dinsdale from Dinsdale Race Engineering are collaborating to finalise the car design. The current Mitchell TLX chassis will be the base for the new car with improvements learnt from the current chassis.
“The intention is to get the first car underway as soon as possible.”
Two of the category's stalwart drivers, Lance Hughes and Nick Ross, have already put their hand up as interested parties. Ross, ironically, has just taken delivery of a beautifully presented Dodge Challenger race car designed for the Central Muscle Cars series.
“I know Lance is interested in building Camaros, and I think a Dodge Challenger would look fantastic on track. As competitors this is something we are excited about and look forward to seeing it come to fruition,” said Ross.
“These new look cars such as Mustang, Camaro and Challenger and others will give an exciting new look to the championship going forward.”
There has been no mention of what will power these Gen-II touring cars, but the series has stressed that current 'Class One' cars will remain competitive with the Gen II cars thanks to ongoing parity adjustments.