After more than 10 years under Phil Ward's control, the Aussie Racing Cars have new owners, a new management structure, and next year, a new car.
The Quinn family, famous for establishing the VIP Petfood company, purchased the series from its creator Ward four months ago. The Aussie Racing Cars is one of two motor racing classes that the Quinn's hold the management rights to, with teh family also controlling the Australian GT Championship.
Klark Quinn spoke to Speedcafe.com's Grant Rowley about the category's new car, expansion into state racing plus a new manufacturer that will join the class next year …
SPEEDCAFE: What can you tell us about the implementation of the new model Aussie Racing Car that will be joining the series in 2013?
KLARK QUINN: We've been working from Day 1 on the new car, and we think it's important to have around 40-50 Aussie Racing Cars ready to race in order for the category to move to the next level.
We should have 20 new cars built before Christmas, the first one came off the jig last week and once we piece it together, which should take about three weeks, then we will get stuck into full production.
It's taken a lot longer than I thought. Every time we look at changing something, then it leads to changing something else … that's why it has taken so long.
In the past all the cars have been pretty unique so we wanted to change that in order to make them easier to build.
SPEEDCAFE: You were saying that you're planning to have 20 more cars on the grid for next year. Why is that the initial target?
QUINN: Our goal in the next two to three years is to flood the market and have about 50 cars. Whether we sell them or not we don't know, because economically it's tough times and every category is feeling the pinch, so if we can sell them that's great.
We just need to get the cars out there and available throughout the country. If can do that, then we will have healthy grid numbers.
Once we can get healthy grid numbers we can start to open up state level racing, but if we did that right now then the national field would just die. After next year, state level racing should be possible.
SPEEDCAFE: How do you see the ‘state' racing working? Would it just be for the east coast states?
QUINN: Most likely we will divide it into New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. There should be enough in 2014 to do so.
SPEEDCAFE: The new cars are expected to be identical, except for clip-on bodywork on the front of the car, allowing different manufacturers to have their own look and feel …
QUINN: Everything from the A-pillar back will be the same, this will help parity and decreasing costs. For example If we talk about something like the front windscreen, if we can get 1000 made instead of 10 than that will help bring costs down dramitically over the next three years when we have 50 cars. In regards to manufacturers, this will be a really affordable category for a manufacturer to launch a new car with Aussie Racing Cars.
SPEEDCAFE: When you do build these new cars will you start with Ford, Holden and Toyota only?
QUINN: There is nothing sealed yet, but we will have one brand-new manufacturer and model ready for next year. That's all I can say on that at the moment.
SPEEDCAFE: Will the engines be the same as what the current cars field?
QUINN: Absolutely, we already have a water cooled engine that some cars have been running and we're encouraging all of our competitors to use them purely because they're more reliable, which makes them cheaper to run.
SPEEDCAFE: Next year, do you see all 20 of the new-generation cars being sold before the opening round?
QUINN: That may be the case, the new cars that we're building won't necessarily be any faster because we don't need to improve that. What we want to do is make them more reliable, which is our overall aim – to cut the costs involved to compete in Aussie Racing Cars. We haven't spoken to all of our competitors yet and we won't announce anything until then, but we are planning to do seven rounds next year with the V8s, plus hold a few feature races.
SPEEDCAFE: Feature events, being races held away from V8 Supercars, run and promoted by yourself?
QUINN: They'll just be cheaper events for competitors to run at. Supporting the V8s is pretty expensive but everything costs money and we'd prefer to be on television.
If we do some feature races then we can cut costs for the competitors who can't afford to do the national series.