The V8 Supercar Championship Series has received its biggest makeover in its twelve-year history after a raft of changes to the on-track rules and overall feel of events was passed ahead of the 2009 campaign.
A series of format changes, coupled with the introduction of an 85 per cent CSR ethanol blended fuel and a dual compound tyre are the most dramatic steps taken by the sport, and are designed to further build the excitement and spectacle that the V8s have exhibited in recent seasons, where the championship battle has gone down to the wire.
The emphasis of the changes is to enhance the racing, increase on-track passing opportunities, emphasise team strategy and teamwork and create a better fan experience.
“In any sport, this amount of wide-ranging changes and their respective impacts are enormous,” V8 Supercars Australia CEO Cameron Levick noted, “The board has spent more than four months on this total overhaul of our racing and this is a fantastic result considering the extent of the changes. I applaud the board for their forward-thinking approach and an outcome that is great for all concerned.
“After eleven years of building itself into one of the country's biggest sporting shows, and infiltrating millions of Australian households, it was time to take the next step forward. The opportunity for change initially presented itself with the more environmentally-friendly CSR Ethanol, then morphed into a far more significant review of the entire sport and what we can do to make it better.”
Out are the familiar triple-headers that made up most rounds, replaced instead by a series of double-headers which will see 26 individual races contested - and rewarded - over the course of twelve championship events. The two races, one to be staged on the Saturday of race weekends and one on Sunday, will award an individual victory to the driver crossing the line first, rather than forming part of an accumulator that previously saw the round winner declared over three races.
Indeed, all references to the term 'round' will be removed from the series, with each weekend now known as an 'event' in an effort to avoid any confusion. Each race within that 'event', outside of the two endurance races, will be worth 150 points to the winner.
Separating the championship season into 26 individual races was indicative of the intense competition that has grown up in V8 racing over recent years, and is designed to recognise that each and every victory is hard fought. Naming race weekend events and recognising individual race victories is designed to simplify the sport and give fans clear winners on each day. Where individual trophies are up for grabs, such as at the Clipsal 500 and the Hamilton 400, the first car across the line on Sunday will generally be regarded as the winner.
“With the field split by hundredths of seconds, winning a race - and the enormous amount of hard work that goes into it - should be rewarded,” Levick continued, “Our teams battle every single lap for the smallest of gains, so a race win in itself is a remarkable team effort.”