Ford Performance Racing’s Car of the Future has endured a smokey start to its shakedown at Winton Motor Raceway.
While the factory squad had planned to undertake an installation lap and a four-lap run today ahead of a further 15 laps tomorrow, the car has completed just two single lap outings across the first two hours of the test as the team chases issues with its oil system.
The 2013 regulations see significant changes to the oil systems as the main tank in each car is now required to live within the engine bay. Tank position on the current cars is free, with FPR locating its units behind the rear firewall.
Cooling the new Albins transaxle gearbox, meanwhile, has been a persistent issue throughout V8 Supercars’ COTF prototype testing and Triple Eight’s running of its first car last month.
The situation has seen V8 Supercars ask each team to run their own gearbox cooling designs during initial testing in order to gather data before locking in a final specification.
FPR team principal Tim Edwards says that getting the oil levels right is a work in progress today.
“It’s a combination of engine oil level and gearbox oil level,” he told Speedcafe.com of the issues this morning.
“We started with too much engine oil in it, and it churned some out into the catch can. We then lowered the oil level but we lowered it a little too much so we were seeing some spikes in the oil pressure, so we’ll go back halfway in between for the next run.
“The gearbox is a similar thing – we’re seeing low pressure spikes in that as well. We’ve set it at the Albins recommended level, so we’ve now spoken to them again and have been told to steadily increase it until the spikes go.
“The difficulty is that we’re all running different gearbox cooler configurations and there’s a fair amount of capacity difference in the coolers and hoses and so on. We’ll sneak up on it until we find the happy level.”
FPR is running five cars at Winton today, adding the COTF to its three championship vehicles and its Dunlop Series entry.
With only four telemetry systems at its disposal, the team has been switching one of its units back and forth between the COTF and Chaz Mostert’s car, which will not run tomorrow.
FPR had initially planned on running its complete 20 lap shakedown on Tuesday, but added the COTF to its program today due to media commitments.