Hybrid technology may be the future of Australian Touring Car racing, according to Supercars CEO Sean Seamer.
The newly-appointed Supercars boss says hybrid technology is a key point of discussion in the evaluation process for the next generation of Supercars, to be completed by the end of this year.
The present technical formula for Supercars, which runs until the end of 2021, allows for V6 turbo engines to join the existing 5-litre V8 engines which have been the mainstay of the category since its 1993 inception. Holden has developed a turbo V6 engine but has put it on hold after encountering various teething troubles.
Hybrid powerplants are also currently eligible, but no manufacturer has yet proposed one.
According to Seamer, hybrids might even become mandatory under the so-called 'Next Generation' Supercars format to be introduced in 2021.
“We're looking at Next Generation for 2021, and I think that everybody's sort of been saying, ‘well, what next?’,” Seamer explained on supercars.com.
“There's a process that a team on the commission is working through between now and the end of the year to define what Next Generation looks like, the car of the future.
“That gives us the full two years to work through development and implementation into 2021.
“We will include manufacturers in those discussions to get their feedback and their inputs, and in terms of what works for them, and make sure that we understand what their long-term product roadmap looks like.
“Hybridisation is obviously a key topic, so we'll make sure we do our due diligence on that.”
Hybrid powerplants are currently not in widespread use in the sport, although they have featured in the upper echelons such as Formula 1 and prototype sports car racing for a number of years.
Seamer says that in any discussion of hybrids, the category must balance the potentially conflicting objectives of providing a formula the manufacturers find relevant and the fans find entertaining to watch.
“That's a line that we walk, and we'll walk through Next Generation, but it's true of all motorsport. It's certainly not a unique challenge to us.”