Peace has broken out in the looming conflict between two rival Australian Formula 5000-inspired retro open-wheeler categories, with local race legend John Bowe taking a proactive role in brokering a sensible solution.
The original plans for two potentially parallel Australian F5000-style race car projects have now moved to a sensible resolution with the announcement that both projects are now fully integrated and aligned.
Chris Lambden, who was first to go public with his Formula Thunder 5000 prototype, says he is now very optimistic about the future, which was certainly clouded by the arrival of a rival Super 5000 car from wealthy Supercars sponsor Brian Boyd and supported by some Supercars Australia executives.
Though both parties had never met, they were keen to explore possibilities of resolving the issues and solving a potentially ruinous and costly denouement.
Bowe, who knows and respects Lambden and Boyd, assisted in facilitating the introductions.
Though both were working on two very different cars, clearly they were motorsports people focussed on the dream of bringing dynamic, exciting open-wheeler racing back to motorsport in the region.
The outcome is pleasing for everyone with both parties announcing that they would work together to develop one car.
They have confirmed that they will incorporate beneficial technical elements from the FT5000 and S5000 to create a single ‘5000-style’ car, ensuring rapid progress towards the spectacular V8 open-wheeler category that both originally set out to achieve.
Work has already started on the merged project under the overarching S5000 project umbrella, with further testing and development planned for both chassis as part of a detailed technical evaluation.
Moving forward swiftly, it is anticipated a combination of elements of both projects, along with some new enhancements, will result in a revised final technical spec which will be revealed in the coming months.
There will now be one combined concept that draws upon the best elements available.
This should quieten a group of Supercars owners led by Triple Eight’s influential Roland Dane who were vehemently opposed to Supercars becoming involved directly in the S5000 open-wheeler project.
Supercars will also hope that the sensible resolution quells strident criticism of the category for what was perceived by many as a copy-cat venture and a big organisation attempting to rough up a little guy.
It is expected that a field of cars will contest a series of key feature races from mid-2018.
“This is the significant step forward which will allow the concept of a modern 5000-style race car and series to actually happen, and happen well, which is what we both started out to do,” said Lambden, who thanked Bowe for his role.
Lambden said Bowe arranged an initial meeting with John McMellan (from Boyd’s company Wilson). Lambden went on to say that McMellan’s encouraging reaction was to declare in essence: “Let’s just get this sorted and find the solution to work together.”
“This outcome will result in a 5000-style race car and series that will be well worth coming to see,” Lambden insisted.
McMellan was also positive about the outcome, and the future, complementing all the parties for their vision and flexibility.
McMellan said he believed the collaboration must result in a better outcome both commercially and technically, as well as for the sport.
“The project team will take the best elements of both designs and thinking along with some other new thoughts to ensure we have a stand-out category that results in exciting, fast and action-packed open-wheeler racing.”
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