Weight has emerged as a parity and technical issue for thenew Car of the Future V8 Supercars formula – specifically the inability of someteams to hit the 1400kg limit.
Primary among them is Ford Performance Racing Ford FGFalcons, which are well over the minimum figure determined by combining theweight of the car with the driver and his race seat.
Causing angst for the factory Ford team is the fact the FordFalcon is the only race-car in the field not running lighter aluminium panels,something only allowed if the production version has this feature.
The new Holden VF Commodore has an aluminium bonnet andbootlid, the Nisan Altima and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG have aluminium bonnets. TheFalcon uses steel panels.
The Altimas are understood to be closing on the weightlimit, while the Benzes were significantly over but getting closer.
Some – but not all – Commodore teams are right on theweight limit, including Brad Jones Racing, which has emerged as a potent forcein the Championship in 2013.
The issue has been debated fiercely at the V8 Supercars Commission,especially between FPR team principal Tim Edwards and BJR co-owner Brad Jones.
While there is no decision yet made, it is understood that aweight increase of 10-15kg is being considered. The argument in favour is itwould stop teams with heavier cars spending cash on cutting grams at a timewhen the category is already tight for funds.
If there is a change made to weight limits it is understoodthat it wouldn’t happen before the Sucrogen Townsville 400 in July.
“We can all get down to whatever the weight limit is but itcosts money,” said Edwards, who stressed he was expressing his view as a team principaland not a V8 Supercars Commission member.
“The issue for the category is that everyone wants to be onthe minimum weight and if that weight is 10, 20, 30kg less than what you arethen you have to go and spend the money to get down to it because we are racersand that’s what we do.
“In my opinion as a team principal, raising the weight wouldbe the thing to do. Whether that happens I don’t know.”
But Jones offered the counter view to v8supercars.com.au:“My personal view as a team owner is we were all acutely aware what the minimumweight was when we set about building these cars. We have a pretty small budgethere and we managed to get our cars down to the right weight.
“I believe we should have a weight that we should all beable to achieve, but I believe that in the build process you have choicebetween building bulky, heavy and strong things that don’t flex versus lightercars that probably do.
“I am not sure how fair it (a weight increase) is, but I amsure the commission will sort it out.”
Threading through all this is the sub-plot of just whatadvantage aluminium panels provide over steel. If the minimum weight does rise,the argument is the lighter cars will still be advantaged because ballast canbe placed low-down and improve the centre of gravity, which is a crucial aid tohandling.
That leads to the question of whether bonnets and bootlidsshould be of a neutral material such as a composite and be of equal weight forall four makes.
But Jones said he had weighed the VF’s aluminium panels andthe predecessor VE’s steel panels, and found the difference to be “sevenkilograms or less”.
“Is it the difference between winning and losing? I don’tthink so,” he said.