Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the Holden-backed Triple 8 racing team showcase the development power plant that was meant to be the future of the sport. The controversial change from a traditional, naturally aspirated V8 engine, to a more modern V6 twin-turbo design has been put on ice with the announcement by Holden today, the development has stopped.
The engineering got as far as installing it in the Triple-8 test vehicle, putting Craig Lowndes behind the wheel to cut a few laps and let the fans hear it for the first time. The engine was on-track to be tested during a round of the Supercars series later this year, but surprisingly that’s all fallen in a heap today.
The sport faces the same challenges as Formula 1 and that’s road relevance. As the industry shifts away from the big fuel-guzzling V8s, cars are being powered by smaller, turbo-charged engines. So the question of what we want from our long-standing sport, has to be answered.
Should Supercars be aligned with the cars we buy in the showrooms of dealers around the country, or should it be a sport that’s simply loud, fast and entertaining.
Traditionalists have filled comment threads about the V6TT engine with hateful comments and today, they’d be celebrating at the end the engine that could have changed their much-loved sport forever.
Personally I think it is important to keep the sport relevant, but if we take that to its natural conclusion, the format should be focusing on a transition to hybrid and ultimately all-electric engines. Something that nobody has really solved is the sound. For electric vehicles to be accepted by motorsport fans in Australia, it really does need an answer.
More information at Supercars.