New Zealand racing series unveil new 6.2-litre V8, 470kW touring-car
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In December last year, New Zealand's BNTV8s championship outlined its future concept; a 'Gen II' touring car based off two-door platforms like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger.
Since that announcement, series organisers have progressed and made changes behind the scenes, with the latest announcement confirming the specs (and a series of tweaks) to that initial concept.
The category has unwrapped its first touring-car concept the V8GT ZC1. While it might share visual cues with the Chevrolet Camaro, the car won't be badged as such. The space-frame platform underneath is a shared one, paired with a made-to-fit composite body. Total cost for each car sits at AUD$230,000, or approximately NZ$242,000 plus GST.
Engine choice is open to those who place an order, though this opening concept is intended to be paired with a 6.2-litre GM LS3 V8 — power rated at 470kW at 7200rpm.
Among the V8GT ZC1's technical departures is the decision to go with a paddle-shift transmission (an Albins ST6 6-speed) instead of a traditional H-pattern or sequential unit.
But the biggest change between this more fleshed out concept and the concept from last December is build location. Having initially paired up with Hamilton's Mitchell Race Xtreme, the BNT V8s have since swapped to Australian car-builders PACE Innovations. It's expected that the first of these cars will be on track in time to debut in the 2020–’21 BNTV8s series.
“The facility Pace has over there is certainly world class. I was very impressed with the high level of manufacturing capabilities,” said former series champion and current front-runner Nick Ross.
“When it comes to this next generation chassis, it is a huge leap forward as far as level of specification and performance. It has great features and design characteristics as well as being built with some of the highest quality motorsport products such as Brembo, Tilton, Motec, Ohlins and Albins. What’s more, what is being offered to competitors is exceptional value for money. It is going to provide a fantastic racing platform.”
While the cars will be much newer than the current BNTV8s 'Class 1' contenders (made up of MRX-built 'TLX' chassis and PACE-built 'NZ SuperTourer' chassis), the series says that parity testing will ensure an equal playing field.
“The NZTC (New Zealand Touring Cars) Board of Directors believes that it was important during the design process to make sure that the car could be used for multiple events not just confined to the BNTV8s Championship. For that reason the car has been designed with upgrades able to be added for endurance racing such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Traction Control,” said Ian Barlow, head of the NZ development project team.
“We have spent a lot of time finalising the specification of this new generation car with Pace Innovations and think it will be a car that teams and competitors will be excited about.”
The question now is whether the new car will give the category the injection of interest it desires.
It will come up against the emerging New Zealand TCR Championship. Although the V8GT ZC1 would likely show a TCR car the way around a race circuit in terms of lap-time, the budgets are similar and TCR appears to have strong local momentum (approximately eight cars are already in the country, with more rumoured to be en route).