It’s the first time the series has overseen the development of an all-new car since Car of the Future in 2012.
Back then Supercars teamed up with then-Super2 squad Matt Stone Racing to run the prototypes, and used non-main game drivers such as Jack Perkins and Scott McLaughlin to ensure none of the first-tier teams got a leg-up on the competition.
This time, however, homologation teams Dick Johnson Racing (Ford) and Triple Eight (GM) will work with Supercars through the prototype testing phase that is also likely to include the VCAT aero homologation process.
A wider testing programme including the non-homologation teams is unlikely to start until late this year at best, or perhaps even early 2022.
But while the two powerhouse teams will have a hands-on role in running the prototypes, Supercars’ Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess is adamant it won’t give them an advantage.
He says the other teams will be invited to watch on during all testing sessions and will be given full access to data and set-up sheets.
“We’ll be as inclusive as we can, the teams will be invited to come,” said Burgess.
“We will be using a lot of the team staff. There’ll be Supercars staff as well. That stuff is still some of the small detail that we’ll get to in another month or so.
“But whatever we do do, then everything will be transparent. All the data, all the set up sheets, all the timing. Everything is there for all of the teams.
“We’re certainly not going to allow two teams just to be loaded up on information and the other teams left in the dark. We consciously try not to do that with all the things that we test. We always try and share the information.
“I mean, after the last VCAT, every single team got a full aero map. They got all the information that the two teams at the VCAT received.
“The teams will be invited to come to the tests. Not so much contribute to the running of the car, because you can have too many people all trying to put their opinion in if you allow that.
“It will be structured. It will be organised. It will be tight and we’ll be running to a programme. But that will be dictated and all organised by Supercars with the help of the teams running the car.”
There won’t be a ban on using current drivers either, which means the likes of Shane van Gisbergen, Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison could all be involved.
It could also play into T8’s hands if the team decides to promote Broc Feeney to Jamie Whincup’s seat, with an invaluable opportunity for miles ahead of what would be his rookie main game season.
“There’ll be days where you want a current driver to evaluate something,” said Burgess. “And there’ll be days where, for all intents and purposes, you’re just putting fuel and tires on the car and you’re generating good, safe, reliable kilometres to validate parts.
“Each different thing that we validate will require a different input from a driver. And you do want the knowledge that the driver’s got now.
“They’re the guys that are going to be racing them. So it would be foolish to the think that you can develop a car without a current driver. We want their feedback. We want their input.”