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HomeNewsSKAIFE TALKS GEN3 COST BLOWOUT

SKAIFE TALKS GEN3 COST BLOWOUT

SUPERCARS supremo Mark Skaife has explained that different philosophies held by different ownership/management parties are partly behind the Gen3 project’s cost blowout.

Under the previous Archer Capital majority ownership, the new-for-2023 Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustangs were touted as being far cheaper as a base package than the current Gen2 models.

Former Gen3 boss John Casey in fact told media in 2020 that the target was a sub-$350,000 car including an engine – a figure that could be roughly half of the actual final price tag.

When the RACE consortium, of which Skaife is a central figure, took hold of Supercars late last year, it set about fixing a number of glaring issues that had become apparent.

Among those was the reinstallation of a gear stick by popular demand, fixing major ergonomic issues that had proven problematic for drivers, and rectifying geometrical problems.

Skaife spoke at length about the situation on the Parked Up Plus podcast this week.

“I came into this program feeling like I got a gift-wrapped hand grenade,” Skaife told podcast host Mark Fogarty.

“I have been pleasantly surprised by everybody’s efforts; the homologation teams have been absolutely outstanding, both Ford and GM have been outstanding, Supercars people that have been involved in this so far have done a massive amount of work.

“Yes, there were some things that were committed to prior to us taking over the business that probably were under a different ticket in terms of what the cost was going to be, and by the time we took the business over so much of the plan was in train and there were things straightaway (that needed to change).

“I listened very, very closely to the drivers, I took particular note in any of the commentary that they spoke of once they were in the car, especially things like ergonomics.

Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander, Mark Skaife, Jamie Whincup and Marcos Ambrose. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

“I mean, it’s fundamental that bigger drivers, whether it’s a Shane van Gisbergen or a Brodie Kostecki, have got to fit in the car.

“So there has been a lot of work around putting a sequential shift back in, putting the anti-rollbar adjusters back in, ensuring that the ergonomics were such that we didn’t disadvantage larger drivers, and what style of car we were looking for.”

Skaife described the incoming platform as “absolutely outstanding”, and while the turnkey cost will be higher than desired, the five-time ATCC/Supercars champion is convinced savings will be seen down the track.

“I’m concerned about the initial bill of materials and the initial upfront costs,” he admitted.

“I’m also very encouraged by the different mantra that this car and this series basically has from the start of next year…

“Yes, the upfront cost is more than what was originally sold… I was always a little dubious around whether those costs could actually be rolled out, but inevitably the number will be higher than what was originally sold.

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“But the upfront cost is going to be amortised essentially across the full year of running, so you have to consider what the business case is.

“You have then got a corresponding exit cost of the current cars, so your delta – the difference between what you have just sold that car for and the new car that you have just bought – that’s the piece that’s really important, and I’m hearing some really big numbers on the final Commodore sale numbers.

“And then second to that is once you have then changed your infrastructure and what I call the racing kit.

“Once you have changed your infrastructure and you’ve got new cars with the new spare parts and componentry required to race the cars next year, that cost per kilometre will be significantly reduced.”

Brad Jones Racing is due to receive the first chassis from PACE Innovations over the course of the Sandown SuperSprint this weekend.

Gen3 demonstration laps will be held on each of the three event days, with the official Supercars website confirming Craig Lowndes and Zane Goddard will drive the Camaro and Mustang, respectively.

Will Brown, David Reynolds and James Courtney are among those who will get prototype mileage on the Monday post-event when teams hold a ride day at Sandown.

LISTEN: Gen3 latest and more on the Castrol Motorsport News Podcast

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