Improving the power delivery of its Ford engines has emerged as a key part of Prodrive’s development push to reel in the Supercars pacesetters.
The Melbourne squad has found itself third in the pecking order this season behind a resurgent DJR Team Penske and Triple Eight squads but is determined to close the gap.
After a difficult Darwin Triple Crown, Prodrive produced a far stronger showing in Townsville highlighted by five top five finishes spread across Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters.
The team has ramped up its development push in recent weeks to catch DJRTP and Triple Eight with upgrades centred around the chassis and engine.
Analysis of its season to date has highlighted a need to improve the low end torque of its engines to aid the drivability at slower speeds.
While admitting its engines are not far adrift of fellow Ford outfit DJRTP, Prodrive co-owner Rod Nash says a development program is well underway.
“We know we have got some tweaks on the engine side, that is letting us down in the low down torque area, and we have been working away at that,” Nash told Speedcafe.com.
“We are taking a slow but sure approach and that might seem a little bit laid back, but we don’t want to lose the strengths that we have.
“There is not a whole lot in it (the difference between Prodrive’s engines and those of DJRTP).
“As we know a whole lot of set-up goes into making that engine work.
“The DJR Team Penske guys have done a great job and they are very strong with their engine program especially in the down low area.
“Our engines are up there but the whole category is continuing to develop which makes the sport so great.
“I wouldn’t say it is the engine that holds us back it is just very narrow differences.
“Where Supercars have been able to control the engine parity is great, so now everybody is working in that torque curve range.
“Every track has different requirements so the engines are called on quite a lot more in the mapping side of things. The set-up of the engine is very much dependent on the set up of the car.”
Meanwhile, Prodrive’s latest raft of developments yielded results in Townsville according to Nash, with further chassis upgrades expected for the Coates Hire Ipswich Super Sprint from July.
“The boys dug in with the data since Darwin and we rocked up to Townsville and it went like it did,” added Nash.
“While there has been some hurdles (this year) it just gets the team working harder.
“We have all been having some close chats about things and there are new things going in the car all the time, so there is definitely some upgrades working.
“We have got things we want to get into the car for Ipswich which have been going on behind the scenes.
“There have been some tweaks we have been working on but it (the Townsville performances) certainly builds confidence for sure.”