In response to changing trends, the popular Australian touring car series known as V8 Supercars has been rebranded with a new name that does away with the “V8” component.
The FIA-sanctioned series from July 1 will be known as Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, with airline Virgin Australia signing up for the role of naming rights partner for at least the next five years.
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The move is in preparation for significant changes to the series set to start in 2017.
2016 Holden Commodore V8 Supercars race car - Image via Holden Racing Team
New rules known as Gen2 will allow the use of turbocharged 4- and 6-cylinder engines. Under current rules, teams are required to use naturally-aspirated V-8 engines with power and torque in parity with rivals.
Teams also need to feature four-door sedan bodies though Gen2 will allow two-door bodies. All teams will still rely on common “control” chassis and continue to be subject to engine and aero parity rules.
The hope is that the greater flexibility will lure more automakers into the series which for years has been dominated by Holden and Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] with their respective Commodore- and Falcon-based race cars. The only automakers supporting the series at present are Volvo, Nissan, Holden and Ford, though Ford has confirmed it’s pulling out after 2016.