Dutton expecting Mustang aero gains to be similar to ZB

The Ford Mustang pictured during Supercars’ homologation process

Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton expects that the new Mustang Supercar will see Ford teams enjoy a rebalancing in aerodynamics to similar to the case of the ZB Commodore.

The Mustang’s aerodynamic package was given the tick of approval after a series of tests as per Supercars’ official VCAT (V8 Supercars Aerodynamic Testing) program in December.

While the process includes testing the competing models against each other to ensure parity in overall downforce levels, the introduction of a new body shape can still lead to a shift in on-track performance.

In the case of the ZB, which was homologated by Triple Eight Race Engineering as the factory Holden team, it was said that the model achieved better balance than the VF which it replaced.

Shane van Gisbergen was particularly enthusiastic with the gains as he gave his explanation for the team’s Sandown 500 podium sweep, describing the ZB’s balance as “so much better.”

When asked for his thoughts on how the car might present an improvement over the FGX Falcon, Dutton drew comparisons to his team’s own experience with the ZB.

“The interesting thing is that when the ZB came along, the main improvement that came from it was the refinements that we did building the car, and obviously some ability to run ballast,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“But the most important thing was the aero balance that we were able to tune, based on the data from running the VF.

“It was more a reshuffling; you didn’t get any more, but you were going down a path with the VF, and you said ‘You know what, it’d be great if we could complement that with a shift in aero balance.’

“So that’s what we did with the ZB.

“I imagine the Mustang will be a similar thing.

“DJR Team Penske would have said, ‘Okay, this is how we’ve been setting up our cars; we think front will be better, we think rear would be…’, whatever the case may be, and then evolve like that.

“That’s not necessarily saying it’s a better car with better aerodynamics; it’s what they want it to be.

“That’s the biggest thing. We still have the same overall downforce that we did with the VF, but we shifted it to where we wanted to and then it worked with what we wanted, so that was good.

“I imagine a Mustang would have done a similar thing.”

The development of the Mustang has been a collaborative effort between Ford Performance in the United States, which has lent its CFD capabilities to the project, as well as DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing.

The ZB Commodore will in fact be the only model to carry the same aerodynamic package into this year’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, as the Nissan Altima starts its seventh season with a small change to the gurney on its rear wing.

Teams are set to conduct pre-season testing at Phillip Island in mid-February.

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