Coronavirus could accelerate new Supercars regs

The virus-induced break in racing could offer an opportunity for Supercars to quickly hone in on its future technical direction, according to series CEO Sean Seamer.

The category was facing a number of challenges even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe, with a new TV deal needed for 2021, and fresh pressure placed on delivering the Gen3 technical regulations in 2022 after GM pulled the pin on Holden.

Much of that work has now been sidelined due to the pandemic, with category officials currently focussed on redesigning its 2020 schedule and reducing its staffing requirements to ensure a speedy return to racing.

However that doesn’t mean work on Gen3 has stopped entirely.

In fact Seamer hopes the break in racing can be used as a galvanising experience for marketing boss John Casey and his Gen3 team, while the inevitable financial hurdles caused by the virus can cast an even starker light on the need to cut costs.

“Like any other business in the short term, our focus is on managing our cost and making sure we’re ready to go again when we can go racing, and that the sport comes through in the best possible shape,” said Seamer.

“[But] we still have big questions that we need to tackle.

“My hope is that this experience galvanises the key decision makers to make sure what we end up with from a product point of view, what we end up with Gen3, really is cost-effective and focuses purely on entertainment. An entertainment-driven exercise, not an engineering-driven exercise.

“If nothing else this experience over the coming months, will, and should, be good for that.”

There is even a chance, says Seamer, that elements of Gen3 could still be implemented ahead of the 2022 deadline, as was being considered in the wake of the Holden announcement.

The less likely scenario is that the coronavirus would cause the new regulations to be delayed until 2023.

“The complexity of Gen3 and the ambition of cost-saving might mean that the timeline can be reduced,” he said.

“The reality is that until we get going again properly we’re not going to know. But I haven’t received any information or communication to suggest the 2022 timeline should be pushed back because of it.

“If anything, I’d like to think that a simplified Gen3 programme, that reduces costs, could be executed sooner.”

Seamer has previously hinted that two-door, V8-powered coupes such as the Mustang and Camaro are likely to underpin the new regulations.

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