Lacroix: Absolute aero parity ‘impossible’
Red Bull technical director and noted aerodynamic specialist Ludo Lacroix admits that the Ford Falcon may have less rear downforce than its rivals, but argues that achieving absolute parity across the five V8 Supercars marques is an impossible task.
The Ford runners have complained this year that their FG Falcon package has lacked rear downforce since its wing was trimmed during the January 2013 homologations.
The unrest was largely triggered by the fact that this year’s pre-season aero testing, which included the Ford as the benchmark against the new Volvo and updated Nissan, saw the Falcon produce lower rear downforce figures than it had the previous year, despite supposedly being in the same specification.
With the stunning debut of the Volvo further turning the spotlight on the category’s aerodynamic parity procedures, V8 Supercars set up a seven-man aerodynamic commission to assess its testing procedures in March.
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While the V8 Supercars paddock continues to await more promised aero running between the Holden and Ford to ‘retest the tools’ of the category, Lacroix – a member of the seven-man panel – says that some discrepancies must be accepted.
“They (V8 Supercars) have to have the rules right, but you can never have it 100 percent, it’s impossible,” Lacroix told Speedcafe.com of the aero parity.
“You cannot match differences that are so big between (the standard) cars. It’s impossible, you’ve got to accept that.
“There will be some difference, like with the Ford. They don’t have as much rear downforce when they’re at max (wing angle), (but) they do probably have a better drag co-efficient, which works on their side.
“They don’t have that much rear but then they can go faster in the straight and it balances out.
“The Holden is probably the best engine but it’s the most draggy car. It’s a big car and there’s only so much you can do with efficiency.”
The Frenchman suggests that the small technical differences between the cars, which also includes each team’s engine performance and front-axle design, helps produce better racing.
“If all the cars in V8 Supercars were 100 percent and we put the same sort of engineer and driver in it, we get a procession,” he said.
“Nobody can overtake because there is no DRS (Downforce Reduction System, as seen in Formula 1 and the DTM), no outside factors.
“The fact that there is differentiation between the cars and they are not perfect it makes the racing interesting.
“You can’t say who is going to win. What you can say is that the best team is more likely to win races.”
V8 Supercars recently appointed current Erebus Motorsport team manager David Stuart to the role of sporting and technical director for the championship.
The job will see Stuart take responsibility for parity issues in the series, as well as exploring the overall technical direction of the class’ future.
While cautious about discussing his duties prior to the July 1 start date, Stuart says he’s prepared to deal with the politics involved.
“At the end of the day you have got to listen to what everyone has got to say but we do have a system in place and everybody works to that pretty well,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“If people are shouting with their point of view we will deal with that as it comes. Absolutely it (parity) is a key issue but I think parity is not too far away.”