Mustang validates Supercars says Dane
Triple Eight boss Roland Dane believes the return of Ford and the arrival of the Mustang into the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship next year validates the category.
Ford teams faced an uncertain future prior to Tuesday’s announcement, with no direct factory support and facing stiff opposition from the new Holden ZB Commodore.
With Holden pledging its support to the category, Dane says that it’s “very positive” for Supercars that Ford is set to officially return to the fold.
“I think it’s extremely positive and it validates the category’s use as a marketing tool for manufacturers,” Dane told Speedcafe.com.
“I think it sends an awful lot of very positive messages, to see Ford and Holden actively involved going forward.”
Along with confirmation of Ford’s return with the Mustang, it was also announced that the Blue Oval will stick with its current eight-cylinder power train for at least another year.
It echoes the sentiments of Holden, revealed it had shelved development of its V6 twin turbo in the leadup to the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint earlier this month.
Dane though preaches caution, as while for the moment the traditional V8 engines will continue to dominate the category, it’s only a matter of time before that changes.
“It probably makes sense for them, for the moment, but down the road, at some point, there will be changes,” Dane said when asked if Ford remaining with its eight-cylinder engine was a positive decision.
“Whether it’s by Ford or Holden or other people, at some point, I don’t know when it will be, but the category allows for that. I’m relaxed either way.”
The Mustang, a two-door coupe, marks the first time Supercars will field anything other than a four door saloon – and the first time in a generation in the Australian Touring Car Championship.
“There have been times when two-door cars have been there before, the Mustang obviously but also in Australian Touring Cars the Sierra, the BMW M3 are two very notable examples of two-door vehicles,” Dane reasoned.
“The rules were freed up some time ago in order to enable people to bring a broader range to the table, because it’s difficult to know with certainty which way exactly the car market is going, and therefore we needed flexibility and that’s what’s there and you can see that with not only the Mustang but also the new Commodore.”
Work on developing the Mustang is currently underway, with Ford Performance, Tickford Racing and DJR Team Penske sharing the worlkload.
All four Ford teams are set to make the switch, with Matt Stone Racing and 23Red Racing confirming their intentions to switch to the Mustang for 2019.