Not since the demise of Group A has the future direction of Australia's premier motorsport category come under such scrutiny. So amongst so many mixed messages and debates, where is the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship heading?
V8X Supercar Magazine issue #93 takes an in-depth look into the future of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, through an examination into the technical, sporting and calendar conundrums the series faces.
Issue #93 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #93.
On the one hand, the racing had never been better. The 2016 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has produced great racing, a variety of winners, unpredictability and close grids. It's the envy of many other motorsport categories.
On the other hand, there's an increasing concern around the future direction of the category and the long-term sustainability of a series built on V8-powered Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores, which are a dying breed.
So, where to from here? Issue #93 takes a look at some key questions, such as:
What is 'Supercars'? The decision to drop the 'V8' tag from the Supercars name has placed a greater focus on the future direction of the series.
'Supercars', by its very definition, are high-performance sports cars. Does this open up the series to move towards a GT platform and the booming sportscar scene? This question will be raised further should the future Gen2/Gen3 rules fail to deliver manufacturer support.
Is there an alternative to the current formula? Sportscars may be enjoying a growth spurt at present, but there are many issues in implementing a GT formula in Supercars [see pages 22 to 27 of issue #93].
Why are manufacturers staying away from touring cars? Supercars always faced a tough ask to attract significant manufacturer entrants when it 'opened the shopfront' with Car of the Future.
Manufacturers were globally moving away from motorsport as the 'win on Sunday, sell on Monday' mantra became less relevant in a confused market.
The ongoing implications of the global financial crisis and small size of the Australian market meant few would take the risk of such a heavy investment for a questionable return.
Manufacturers had also long since moved away from V8 engines, which meant there would have to be compromises in terms of any V8 Supercars engine package at a time when they were investing so heavily in alternative powerplants.
Can Supercars survive without manufacturers? Manufacturers come and go throughout the world of motorsport.
Key for the long-term survival of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is making the series affordable for teams so they can survive and somewhat prosper without manufacturer funding; a privateer formula. But is it a sustainable model?
For full analysis on these questions and more, grab a copy of issue #93 – on sale now!
CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #93.