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Coupes: The tall and short of Supercars

The arrival of the Ford Mustang and the possibility of the Camaro following suit has put the spotlight on how two-door coupes fit over the current Supercars control chassis. We look at the issues around the tight fit and what could change in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #110.

07 May 2019

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #110.

The automotive world is changing. The biggest selling cars in Australia are utes. If you aren’t buying a ute, you are most likely looking to a small car. The big four-door sedans have been in decline for some time.

Coupes such as the Mustang and Camaro were the natural replacements for the Falcon and Commodore, which is reflected in Supercars. That is why we are having this discussion now. The Mustang Supercar is the first incarnation, but it’s highlighted what needs to be fixed.

Allowing the Mustang in for this year’s title race was not without its issues, and when the covers were taken off the look of the Supercar raised some concerns. It had been pulled here, tucked there and the skin of the car essentially stretched to fit the control chassis. For some, the road car had lost its presence. It was no longer wide and squat like a real coupe.

The powers that be are starting to think there is something in the two-door way of the world. The Mustang has created massive interest in areas outside of the normal

Supercars domain, and chances are Gen3 of the Car of the Future will look different to what we see today.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer has hinted as much, at a time when Walkinshaw Andretti United boss Ryan Walkinshaw said he was stopping work on the Camaro with the look of the Mustang having put him off.

“The process that we are going through right now is trying to make sure we have enduring market relevance in what we are racing out there and we have the most opportunity for a different number of marques” he says.

“We have got about 20 different CAD files that the technical department are working through and dropping those files on the chassis and seeing what changes would need to be made to accommodate the maximum number of vehicles.

“This is a process where we are doing some work right now, but we really need to take this back to our OEM manufacturer partners to get their feedback on what that looks like.

“We are just doing a bit of grunt work right now to understand what the opportunities might be and we can take that back [to manufacturers] and get their feedback on that, and make sure what we are doing and what we are looking to do has longevity.”

Walkinshaw’s thoughts were interesting, and given his Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) is importing the 

Camaro you can bet he wanted it on the track as quickly as he could, just not within the current constraints.

“We’ve been really clear that our ambitions are to race a Camaro in Supercars but currently with the chassis and the roll hoop where it is, you’d have to bastardise the aesthetics of the car so much, as you’ve seen with the Mustang” says Walkinshaw.

“For us, particularly as the people who are bringing the Camaro in with Holden, we’ve got a significant incentive, that any of our marketing, particularly on the race track, want to ensure that the race car represents the aesthetic integrity of the road.

“So, if and when Supercars change the roll hoops, change the chassis to allow more two-door exciting products into the category we’ll be exploring that opportunity again. At the moment it’s dormant because we’re waiting to see what happens with the chassis. They’re (Supercars) investigating from what my understanding is. We’re obviously pushing that because we’d like to open that door.”

Even those at Ford who’ve just jumped through hoops with the current Mustang are keen to look at changes. Ford’s global racing director Mark Rushbrook expressed support for Supercars’ current study.

“We definitely understand the rules we had to deal with to get the Mustang on the track like it is today, we have a good understanding for that” says Rushbrook.

“For sure when a change is made on that magnitude [roof height], even though it may seem small, its big in terms of the general effect. We have some understanding of where we would like to see it go and maybe when. They are taking the right approach to study and understand across different OEMs what is best for the future of the series and then to work with partners to work out how to get there and when.”

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