New cars galore for 2017 season

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/12/2016
  • By Aaron Noonan

A range of Virgin Australia Supercars Championship teams will have brand new hardware for the start of the 2017 championship at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide next March.

No less than 10 new chassis are being constructed by teams over summer across a range of teams, however it’s the reigning champions at Triple Eight Race Engineering that will be working the most with three brand new chassis to complete in time for next year.

The Queensland-based squad is building the new chassis for next season in the wake of recent sales to Dunlop Series teams and a collector that has left the Roland Dane-led squad light on chassis inventory.

It’s the biggest number of cars produced by the team since the end of 2012/start of 2013 when the New Generation chassis was introduced and the team produced a range of chassis for itself and various customers.

“We’re building three, so each of our drivers will be getting a new car,” says Triple Eight Team Principal Roland Dane.

“Jamie’s current race car will become the spare.”

The recent sale late last year of some of its fleet to Dunlop Series teams and collectors has left the Brisbane-based team with a need to build some new cars.

Melbourne-based Eggleston Motorsport has purchased a pair of the team’s 2016 Red Bull Commodore VFs, including the car driven to the championship by Shane van Gisbergen and the car driven earlier in the season by Jamie Whincup, while Craig Lowndes’ TeamVortex chassis has been secured by Matt Stone Racing for Todd Hazelwood to drive.

The team also sold its spare car last November – the 2015 Bathurst-winning Craig Lowndes/Steve Richards Red Bull #888 car – to GT competitor Scott Taylor for his growing Queensland car collection.

While the team that will carry the Red Bull HRT banner this year will be pressing ahead with plenty of new metal for the new season, the former carrier of the HRT flag, Walkinshaw Racing, is doing the opposite.

“We’ve got enough cars, so the short answer is no (to building new cars) at the moment,” Walkinshaw Racing MD Adrian Burgess told supercars.com.au.

“Both our drivers had new cars this year, so we’ll gather our basket up and see what’s going to roll out in 2018 before we make anymore.

“We’ve still got five cars, two racecars and three spares. Five is more than ample. We sold two (to Erebus Motorsport V8) and built two this year. We have another chassis in kit form with tube work and bar work going together but there’s no real need or rush; we might hold it back and use it for our 2018 car.”

Ford runners Prodrive Racing Australia and DJR Team Penske will each have a new Falcon FG X on the grid for the start of 2017, the new car at PRA taking its active fleet to eight race cars.

“We have a new one going together at the moment, it’s already out of the paint shop and ticking along,” says PRA Team Principal Tim Edwards.

“We haven’t gone through which driver will get it yet; we’ll worry about that in the New Year. When you run six cars (four in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and two in the Dunlop Series) that necessitates having a reasonably sized fleet anyway.

“There’s another new shell on the jig but we’ll tinker along on that one (during 2017).”

Nissan Motorsport will have two brand new Altimas on the grid to start 2017, the first time it’s produced multiple new chassis for a season since the beginning of New Generation regulations nearly four years ago.

With two of its cars now with Matthew White’s team in the Supercars Dunlop Series, the factory Nissan squad has had to produce two more to ensure it begins this season with a spare chassis in case of dramas in the early part of the season.

Garry Rogers Motorsport has already confirmed it’s building two new Commodore chassis for 2017, however has already publically stated they are slated for use in the Dunlop Series given the two VF Commodores it ran this year (originally built by GRM) were leased from Dragon’s Tony Klein and are headed to Image Racing for 2017.

After using a pair of Walkinshaw-sourced Commodores this year, Erebus Motorsport V8 has plans to build a new car for David Reynolds for 2017 in-house with the Clipsal 500 its planned debut.

Reynolds’ current #9 car is planned to become the #4 car of Dale Wood with the former #4 chassis – as driven in the second half of the season by Shae Davies – to become the team’s spare.

Of the other teams in the paddock, Brad Jones Racing has no plans to produce any new cars for the start of 2017 given it built two new chassis to start this season for Jason Bright and Tim Slade.

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