After six months building and testing – and lots of yelling – Red Bull Racing Australia chief Roland Dane says the arrival of the all-new VF Commodores could signal an end to long-standing track records.
With a noticeably new aerodynamic package that’s estimated to be as much as 10 per cent more efficient than Holden’s previous kit, plus a more streamlined Commodore and new tyre package, the Holden Car of the Future is just that – a car capable of maintaining Holden’s dominance of V8 Supercars for years to come.
“I think we will probably see some track records broken at some races,” RD says. “It depends on the tyre, if we’re running the hard or soft tyre and how quickly everyone gets to grips with the balance of the car. The cars aren’t massively quicker – we didn’t really want them to be – but they’re a pretty similar pace to last year’s cars.”
But the Big Dog of Triple Eight Race Engineering – who supplies components to every team on the grid – says so far as the opening rounds go, the races are anyone’s to win. It may not be unlike the first half of the 2012 Formula 1 season.
“No one really knows where everyone is going to be, so that’s one of the things that’s going to make it a very exciting season because I think there could be plenty of different winners and different people in the mix,” he continues.
Team principal Adrian Burgess agrees on both fronts. While early testing suggests the Red Bull Racing Australia Commodores will set a new pace in 2013, the Englishman behind the last three championship-wining cars is prepared for a mixed start to 2013. It’s something he says will not just be good for fans and spectators but V8 Supercars teams as a whole.
But it mightn’t be so good for his temper or that next pay rise…
“I think it’s going to be a little bit equal,” Burgo says.
“After a few years working with the same equipment, the drivers and the engineers begin to get a little bit stale and you begin to run out of areas where you can develop and improve the car. Starting with a fresh piece of paper is going to be a good challenge for both. We’re looking forward to exploring all the parts that have changed. It represents an opportunity to redevelop yourself and learn again, so it’s an exciting time.
“I think you go into every year with an open book and I think you’d be foolish not to consider everybody out there a threat at this stage. Clearly the big teams – HRT, FPR, and Erebus will be threats. Plus Tekno and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport (LDM) because we know what equipment they have – it’s the same as ours.”
In fact, Tekno and LDM have the exact same equipment as the No.1 and No.888 RBRA cars, Triple Eight having built two each for their rivals. And if the cars are to prove as competitive as years past, then generally speaking Tekno and LDM should have a leg-up on their counterparts in 2013.
However, while the reigning champion welcomes the challenge from his pseudo stablemates, he’s reluctant to nominate them as championship contenders just yet.
“I’m going to throw it out there and say not a huge amount is going to change,” the No.1 driver says.
“I could end up with egg on my face come the end of the year but I think the best teams are still the best teams.”
Damn, it looks like the big guy’s come out of his shell in 2013. It must be the confidence that new haircut he sported in the teaser clip has given him…
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how the Nissan and the Mercedes go,” he continues.
“I think they must feel like they’ve got a new beginning, so they’ll try to make the most of that.
“I think one of the biggest challenges for us is going to be trying to live up to the standard we’ve set the last few years, but I’ve got full confidence we can do that.
“Whatever happens, it’s going to be a very exciting year to be in V8 Supercars.”