HOLDEN’S new V6 twin turbo race engine could make its Supercars debut under the lights at the championship’s first proper night race in Australia in over two decades.
Triple Eight is working towards debuting the new turbocharged motor as a wildcard entry at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300.
“That’s set to debut under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park on August 4,” FOX SPORTS’ Chris Stubbs revealed on Supercars Trackside ahead of this weekend’s Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.
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“There is a little bit of work to be done to get to that point; there is still some testing that needs to be completed and the paperwork has to go to Supercars and be signed off on, but that is what the Red Bull Holden Racing Team is working towards.”
It’s not yet known would perform driving duties, although Porsche star Matt Campbell has been linked with driving the car at the Bathurst 1000 should the engine be deemed ready to tackle Mount Panorama.
MORE HURDLES AHEAD
Beyond preparing the engine to race readiness, there are several other hurdles that need to be cleared before the V6 twin turbo can join the Supercars grid.
One of those is aero testing.
The additional cooling demands of the turbocharged engine and its extra ancillaries will force changes to the ZB Commodore’s panelwork that will need to be homologated.
“That splitter will be different, the grille will be open, and it’ll have bonnet vents for the intercooler exit,” Triple Eight boss Roland Dane told media at the Autobarn Lowndes Racing launch in January.
“So that necessitates a different aero test and we need Supercars for that.”
Another is to introduce a rule to allow the V6 twin turbo engine to compete, although the groundwork has already been laid amid the reworking of Supercars’ Operations Manual — the championship’s rule book — for 2018.
Although the rules still state cars must use V8 engines, a new rule for this year allows Supercars to approve non-V8 engines for use in specific events via the round’s Supplementary Regulations.
The next step will then be to lodge a wildcard entry.
WILDCARD RULE CHANGE OPENS UP POSSIBILITIES
That Triple Eight can consider running the car at the SuperNight event at all is thanks to another rule change for 2018.
Traditionally, wildcard entries could only join the regular field for the Enduro Cup races at the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000.
Last year that was increased to four sprint rounds, Supercars looking to give Super2 teams the opportunity to give young drivers a taste of what it’s like in the main game without the pressure of a full season bid. Supercars has repeated the Super2 wildcard program this year, with drivers and teams able to race at a maximum of two rounds across the Winton, Darwin, Ipswich and The Bend events.
But Supercars has also opened the wildcard window further.
Wildcard entries are now eligible to enter in 12 out of the 16 championship rounds, the only exceptions being Albert Park, Townsville, the Gold Coast 600 and Pukekohe.
Beyond the Sydney SuperNight 300 on August 4, the team could also enter the V6 twin turbo-powered ZB Commodore at Sandown, Bathurst, and the season-ending Newcastle 500.