Drivers intrigued by challenge of Gen2 Supercars

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/12/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

2014 Champion elect Jamie Whincup, young gun Scott McLaughlin and seasoned competitor Garth Tander have applauded V8 Supercars' Gen2 strategy and are keen to be part of the 2017 development.

Red Bull's Whincup has always been a strong advocate for change and mixing up the racing, and the soon-to-be six-time title winner was enthusiasticabout management's proactive outlook for the future, announced to key stakeholders, sponsors and team representatives and drivers in Sydney yesterday.

"I'm all for change - if you sit on your hands too long you end up going backwards," Whincup told v8supercars.com.au.

"We've got a fantastic team at V8 Supercars at the moment who are keeping up with the times, and I think it's really exciting. To have more manufacturers in ans different engines, I think it's a great thing for the sport. I'm really looking forward to seeing the future unfold."

During his time in the category, Whincup has seen it evolve - and his Red Bull team has always been up for the challenge.

"Car of the Future was a huge change, introducing new manufacturers, changing tyres - we've done all sorts of things and all it has done is added to the excitement of the category.

"It's made it harder for the guys internally to get the cars right and for us to do our job, but all it does it add to the reward. The harder it is to get right, the more satisfying it is when you do get it right."

With a long career ahead of him in V8 Supercars, 21-year old McLaughlin can't wait for the challenge the new Gen2 Supercar will bring.

Having been a part of the Garry Rogers Motorsport team during its successful changeover to Volvo for this year, McLaughlin says it's a matter of moving with the times and having the right people around you to do the job.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge, I think Volvo is too, and it's going to allow the sport to grow as a whole," McLaughlin told v8supercars.com.au

"But at the same time we can still race V8s if we want to, and it's the same sort of product everyone's watched over the years, just a few different things."

The Car of the Future platform allowed Volvo to sign up last year for season 2013, with Nissan and Mercedes-AMG also new to the pit lane. The Gen2 options make the category more relevant for manufacturers, opening up engine configuration and body style, as long as the road-going car has four seats, front engine and rear-wheel drive, and utilises the current chassis.

"I think it's great - especially for me being with a European manufacturer and a new manufacturer," McLaughlin said.

"It's great and viable for us ... to keep us going and keep their [Volvo's] support, and also to bring new manufacturers in."

The switch to running Volvo S60s - which included Swedish racing arm Polestar developing the B8444S 4.4-litre V8 engine specifically for the category - proved more immediately successful than many were expecting.

McLaughlin was on the podium at the second race of the year, had won by following event the Australian Grand Prix showcase, and is now top five in the Championship and a frequent front-runner.

"If you do it right and you're with the right people who know what they're doing and don't overcomplicate things, I think you can do it," he said of the engine switch and development.

"[Our team] worked very hard to make sure we still used our original product, but just evolved it - and I think that's what we have to do for this ... I'll look back when I'm 60, look back about being part of it, and that will be a great day."

Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander - who debuted in the category in 1998 and has three Bathurst 1000 victories to his name - was also looking forward to the next phase.

"It'll be exciting to be part of - obviously being in the sole domain of V8 Supercars racing my whole career, with only V8s, the potential for different engine formats in interesting," Tander told v8supercars.com.au.

"And it'll be interesting to be part of - developing an engine program, if that's the way we look at going. It's an exciting time."

HRT has been on the rise this year and is focusing on being a real Championship contender with both Tander and James Courtney in the coming seasons, running the current configuration Commodore and potentially developing more behind the scene for the 2017 entry point.

"We've obviously got two more Championships with the current regulations to take in before we worry about 2017, so it's easy to get ahead of yourself," Tander said.

"But saying that, something as significant as an engine program, you need to have a long lead time to get that going - so that will probably happen in parallel to 2016 Championship."

Click here for the announcement and further information on the Gen2 Supercars strategy.

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