New parc ferme rules a focus for McLaughlin at QR test

Scott McLaughlin during Thursday’s in-season test at Queensland Raceway

Scott McLaughlin says preparing for tightened parc ferme regulations at the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint was among the key areas of focus at this week’s in-season test.

The championship leader joined the Shell V-Power Racing squad Triple Eight and Matt Stone Racing at Queensland Raceway yesterday for a valuable hit out before next week’s race meeting at the venue.

While the team worked on refinements to improve its dominant Ford Mustangs, there was plenty of attention put on understanding the far more stringent parc ferme rules that Supercars will trial at Ipswich.

The idea of the parc ferme regulations is to shake up the grid with teams forced to gamble on setting cars up for qualifying or the race. 

An original trial at Symmons in April allowed teams to conduct only minor work on the cars during parc ferme between Armor All Qualifying and the following race.

Supercars has added further rules stating that teams must start the race on the tyres they finish qualifying on. 

“It was really productive. We did lots of laps and ran through our program in the morning really early,” said McLaughlin of the team’s test.

“We just went through our program for next week especially and it feels good.

“The car as a whole is really good, but I think absolutely there is refinements that we can make to make the thing better over a race run, but also you’re thinking about next week’s parc ferme stuff and just trying to work all that in, as well.

“I mean, getting our heads around that is probably more of what we were looking at.

“But certainly there’s bits we can improve ergonomically and stuff like that (on the car), as well.

“I see how you probably can say that (parc ferme could have more impact here), but I still think you’ll see the quickest cars in qualifying. 

“I don’t think you will see that much difference, maybe you’ll see the odd car jump up, because they run a heap of camber or whatever.”

The test also saw McLaughlin and his team-mate Fabian Coulthard run their Mustangs with the new lower centre of gravity changes stipulated by Supercars.

Confirmed after Townsville, nine of the 28kg of ballast placed in the roof of the Mustang has been removed with steel beams put in place.

McLaughlin admitted he didn’t feel any difference but believes the cockpit of the car is more aesthetically pleasing.

“I couldn’t feel a thing. I said to the guys, it looks better,” he added.

Looking ahead to the Ipswich SuperSprint, the reigning Supercars champion believes the chance to test a week before the race will prove beneficial.

“I wouldn’t say it is an advantage,” he said. 

“But I think it definitely helps us get the ball rolling next weekend, when we can just come out and basically roll the thing straight out and have somewhat of an idea, because most likely it’s going to be similar conditions.”

The Ipswich SuperSprint will begin next Friday.

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