Teams chasing ZB splitter mount fix

Mat Coch

Monday 23rd April, 2018 - 6:00am

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Nick Percat’s BJR Holden ZB Commodore

A number of teams are seeking a permanent solution to the Holden ZB Commodore splitter mounting failures experienced at the WD-40 Phillip Island 500.

Brad Jones Racing and Preston Hire Racing suffered splitter failures over the weekend, with Nick Percat and Lee Holdsworth suffering multiple failures.

Those failures were ultimately traced back to the mountings rather than the splitters themselves.

Homologation rules dictate the design of the splitter, though there are freedoms around how teams mount them to their cars.

Victorian and Queensland based teams have typically employed different solutions, both of which are legal under the regulations.

“They can’t do what they like but there are freedoms,” Triple Eight boss Roland Dane explained to Speedcafe.com.

“Some people do it one way, and some people do it another way, and the teams in Melbourne mount their splitter differently to how we do, and they have done for a long time.

“There is specific championship parts that you have to use on the front rails of the chassis, but then there are freedoms around that, and every car is entitled to do it differently. It’s up to them.”

Clouding the situation is the fact Garry Rogers Motorsport, which produces the front splitters under licence from Triple Eight for teams based in the southern end of Australia, uses a different lay-up for construction of its splitters.

“I’m not entirely sure what the construction of the GRM one is, they’re aware of our layup and are welcome to use it if they want to, that’s a decision for them,” said Dane.

Triple Eight is understood to use a carbon fibre fascia, which creates a more rigid splitter, while GRM uses kevlar.

Those produced by GRM are more flexible, an intended design feature which allows drivers to attack kerbs, particularly at street circuits.

The mixture of mounting systems and splitter manufacturers has made identifying the root cause more difficult for the likes of Preston Hire Racing.

“We’ve got a Triple Eight car which is the Queensland mounting system but, made in Victoria, a different bar. It’s all a bit mixed up,” team owner Charlie Schwerkolt told Speedcafe.com.

Preston Hire Racing suffered three failures during Friday practice at Phillip Island, finally resorting to borrowing a bar from ‘a different supplier’.

The borrowed splitter, believed to have been sourced from Triple Eight, stood the test until Sunday’s race.

“It didn’t start off well on Friday, broke a front bar on first practice, then we did two front bars on second practice,” Schwerkolt said.

“Saturday didn’t qualify well, didn’t have the race setup right and of course you don’t have that right you qualify at the back and didn’t have the pace.

“Then sort of not that far from the window (on Sunday) in 13th or 14th I think, we were very optimistic about a good race car, and unfortunately it looks like it’s broken the whole mount of the front splitter bar.

“The splitter’s been dragging on the ground and (created) a big vibration through the whole thing.

“(Lee) came in for another splitter but that didn’t fit it because the whole mount was broken.”

There were similar issues at Brad Jones Racing, where Percat’s car was hastily repaired for Sunday’s race.

It was the only one of the team’s three cars impacted, with the squad ultimately taking a splitter from Tim Slade’s car for the race.

As the homologation team, Triple Eight has been in constant contact with the teams, including over the Phillip Island weekend.

“We’re in communication with them all the time,” said Dane of the interaction his team has with its fellow Holden competitors.

“We’ve offered everyone the advice we can, based on our own experience.

“The issue is not really the splitter itself, it’s the mounting systems that people use, and there are different ones.

“So we’ve offered our advice on what to do and hopefully people take it up.”

Speedcafe.com has been established to provide a daily motorsport news service to the industry and fans in Australia and internationally.

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