Supercars to get power and aero downgrade for 2020 season
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The word 'downgrade' is normally pretty self explanatory. But, things are a bit different here ...
This morning the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship confirmed that will be revising the rule-set for engines and aerodynamics for next year's season, with cars likely to lose a portion of the horsepower and tasty, tasty drag that they currently enjoy.
Specifically, Supercars has said that a control-part ring and rocker ratio will be mandated throughout the field's engines, with engine rebuilds capped to three per season. As a result of the control part, each car is set to lose approximately 15bhp from its approximate 650bhp total power output.
The reduction of engine rebuilds is expected to save each team between AU$40,000 and AU$50,000, given that that's what each rebuild normally costs. Across a grid of 24 cars, that's a potential saving of AU$1.2m in engines alone.
Alongside the engine changes is a planned 15 per cent reduction in downforce, although it's still to be confirmed where this reduction will take place on each car.
Less power and less downforce will likely mean slower lap-times for the grid. Indeed, there haven't been many instances like these where Supercars have brought about new regulations knowing that they will make the cars slower.
But, anything that can reduce the costs to compete in Supercars is likely to make it more appetising as a prospect for potential sponsors and potential teams, while simultaneously taking the focus away from bringing in 'pay drivers' to offset costs. That's a win for all involved, even if the number on the timesheets won't be quite as flash.
Then there's aero. A reduction in aero is likely to reduce the control-ability of the cars, which will hopefully improve the racing and make the cars shift around more on the track. Supercars have long been renowned worldwide for being 'different' to drive, and anything that makes the cars slide around more will only strengthen this reputation.
“There wasn't a single team doing under four rebuilds and it was a sort of easy objective for us to try and get that down to three,” explained Supercars Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess. “The easiest way for us to do that equally for everybody was to change the rocker and ring package. That will lose approximately 14, 15 horsepower equally for everybody. And it'll just de-stress the engine a little bit.”
"Part of the thing the teams were doing, they all migrated to a really expensive ring package that gave them two horsepower,” he added. “But it actually degraded a lot quicker. We're not re-inventing the wheel or anything, we are going back to an older ring package for everybody. It's $390 as opposed to $2,000 a set.
“It’s really a no-brainer for everybody, and a very effective way for us to take some stress out of the engines and allow them to stretch them a little bit further than they are.”
The solution might not sound particularly sexy. But, remember ... today's cars have more power and (much) more aerodynamic aid than the 'heydey' racers of the early '00s — let alone the cars from Group A and Group C that attract a cult following and nostalgia today. Bring on the changes.