The long awaited S5000 ‘super’ openwheeler formula is here, with the unveiling of the first car and the announcement of a planned six-round Australian S5000 Championship next year.
The first example of the new V8-powered S5000 openwheeler formula made its public track debut at Eastern Creek ahead of a planned demonstration run of the new machine this weekend at the Newcastle Supercars round.
The S5000 concept began as an attempt to recreate the old Formula 5000 category but has since evolved into a thoroughly contemporary formula which still retains the essence of the old 1970s 5-litre V8-powered openwheelers.
Much of that is down to the control-specification Ford 'Coyote' engine – a version of the engine currently sold in the Ford Mustang. With the 5.0-litre V8 tuned to deliver a healthy 420kW, it’s expected that the S5000 cars will break the outright lap record at possibly every circuit they race on in 2019.
The S5000 one-make chassis features the latest FIA-specification carbon-fibre monocoque with strength, safety and cost-effectiveness being the main priorities. It is also the first Australian race machine to be fitted with the controversial Halo cockpit protection device.
The proposed six-round Australian S5000 Championship next year will run alongside the Shannons Nationals events and takes in Sydney Motorsport Park, Phillip Island, Winton, Sandown and Tailem Bend.
The brainchild of S5000, former driver and journalist Chris Lambden, said the first public showing of the S5000 car was a landmark event for motor racing in this part of the world.
“There is now the certainty that teams and drivers have been looking for to enable them to commit and plan for 2019,” he said. “S5000 is going to offer the ‘big-bang’, serious open wheeler racing that Australia hasn’t seen for decades, and there’s no doubt that the car and competition package will excite people.
“Confirmation of the CAMS Australian S5000 Championship schedule for 2019, headlining the Shannons Nationals, is great news all-round.
"It’s the ground base on which the future of S5000 will be built.
“There are discussions also going on with Supercars, among other promotors, with a view to S5000 running at some of their events, which will certainly add some icing to the cake.”
In addition to non-championship appearances, possible calendar inclusions could be a revived Australia/New Zealand Tasman Series, in the style of the eight-round summer series last held, for Formula 5000 cars, in 1975.
Confederation of Australian Motorsport CEO Eugene Arocca described S5000 as an exciting development and suggested that consideration should be given by CAMS to the reinstitution of the old CAMS Gold Star award for the winner of the S5000 championship. The Gold Star, formerly the most prestigious honour in Australian motor racing, has not been awarded since 2014.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming S5000 on to the Shannons Nationals calendar next year,” Eugene Arocca.
“There has been significant interest in this new category from competitors and fans alike. Feedback from the initial launch of S5000 was extremely positive and sparked plenty of passionate discussion about the exciting future of open-wheel racing in Australia. S5000 is a welcome addition to the Australian motor sport landscape.
“The Shannons Nationals in 2019 will be a terrific mix of really competitive categories, including some of the newest in Australia with both S5000 and TCR Australia set to debut at the first event in Sydney next year. We can’t wait.”
2019 Australian S5000 Championship
Round 1 Sydney Motorsport Park 17-19 May
Round 2 Phillip Island 6-9 June
Round 3 The Bend Motorsport Park 12-14 July
Round 4 Winton 31 August-1 September
Round 5 Sandown 20-22 September
Round 6 The Bend Motorsport Park 15-17 November