V8 Supercars will pilot a new fuel blend in the Erebus Motorsport V8 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 and Nissan Supercars at this weekend’s Winton 360 in regional Victoria.
Two Nissan Altimas and one of the Erebus Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 Supercars will run on a slightly lower ethanol ratio, which will offer no power or performance advantage, in order to improve fuel consumption rates.
The fuel blend will be tested over the weekend while the V8 Supercar technical team, V8 Supercar Commission and respective teams monitor usage; and decide whether it will be used following the Winton 360.
The Commission and all V8 Supercar team owners have agreed to the trial.
V8 Supercars’ General Manager of Motorsport Damien White explained the different style of engine in the new marques when compared to those of Ford and Holden had led to a marginally higher fuel use, meaning longer fuel stops and smaller pit windows in direct comparison.
This means that in the upcoming PIRTEK Enduro Cup at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and the ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600, the Erebus and Nissan teams are likely to be disadvantaged by higher consumption and in turn need for longer, and more, fuel stops.
“It is the responsibility of the sport to maintain the level of parity as stated in the technical regulations,” White said.
“This will not enhance power or performance; it’s a possible means to ensure these teams are not disadvantaged leading into a critical time in the Championship.”
The Winton 360 does not include fuel stops, making this event an ideal opportunity to trial the fuel blend and provide a thorough analysis before the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
Nissan Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport V8 have had less than a year to develop their Supercars, compared to Ford and Holden who have enjoyed two decades of research and development.
Erebus Motorsport V8 CEO Ryan Maddison said all his team has asked is for a level playing field.
“This is not a question of performance, it is literally a parity measure which falls into the technical regulations of the sport,” Maddison said.
“V8 Supercars is committed to ensuring the teams, no matter which, have the ability to go racing equally; the same as when we, together, determined aerodynamic parity at the start of this year. This is no different.”
Nissan Motorsport boss Todd Kelly said the introduction of the additional manufacturers meant a new approach.
“The sport has shifted significantly with new manufacturers after 20 years of the duopoly into one that now has a wide range of engine variance, and fuel consumption levels,” Kelly said.
“It is pleasing that V8 Supercars is being proactive in helping us, and any other manufacturer now or in the future, on a level playing field on the eve of the most important races of the year.”
UPDATE (August 24):
Erebus Motorsport V8 last night released a statement in relation to the fuel trial. EMV8 obviously welcomes the implementation.
“Erebus Motorsport V8 welcomes the decision by V8 Supercars to implement the pilot fuel test this weekend,” Erebus Motorsport CEO Ryan Maddison said.
“Erebus Motorsport V8 acknowledges the agreement from each V8 Supercar team and manufacturer to allow us to trial this fuel this weekend. We thank them for their combined commitment towards achieve a level playing field within the category.
“At the beginning of this year, Erebus Motorsport V8 came to an agreement with V8 Supercars and the other manufacturers with regards to aerodynamic parity - this is no different. It is about bringing each one of the four current manufacturers into line from a technical parity standpoint.
“By allowing us to trial the reduced ethanol blend fuel, we have the opportunity to enter the biggest races of the year on par with every other manufacturer and compete on a level playing field.
“It is the close competition of the sport that has given V8 Supercars its international recognition and foundation of success for the past 13 years, in essence, this is what the teams and category embraced when they moved to Car of The Future.
"Erebus Motorsport V8 and the other new manufacturer to the category have less than 12 months development of our engine programs, this will also benefit new manufacturers to the category in the future.
“We hope this development will increase the overall spectacle for the sport’s most important stakeholders, the fans.”