23Red Racing’s Will Davison says changes to Supercars’ aerodynamic and suspension specifications for 2020 have made life tougher for drivers.
Supercars technical staff spent the off-season conducting a thorough Vehicle Control Aerodynamic Testing process in a bid to ensure parity between the Ford Mustang and ZB Commodore, and reduce the downforce achieved by both models by approximately 12 percent.
Those changes should, in theory, allow cars to follow closer, while the introduction of a new control SupaShock damper has been tipped to level the playing field and reduce costs.
However, after the first race of the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, at the Superloop Adelaide 500, Davison believes the changes haven’t made close quarters racing easier necessarily.
“It was a tough race, the cars are much harder to drive over the stint,” the Milwaukee Mustang driver told Speedcafe.com.
“To be honest, it was really hard to race. There’s less downforce, I was really struggling with front downforce at Turn 8. You can’t attack or anything when you’re behind people. It was tricky.
“I never really thought it would help the racing at all. To be honest, all it would do is induce more mistakes from drivers, more tyre degradation, which could create more opportunities.
“Its a bit hard to tell. We’re just so limited with our braking and tyre grip we have. When you’re behind someone you lock your brakes, with the temperature. It’s very tricky.
“It’s a Catch 22 and I’m not sure what the solution is. But if I’m honest, it felt like we’re more on knife-edge today to race than even last year, the cars were very edgy.
“You just couldn’t commit for a move unless you had a huge speed advantage.”
Apart from the race start battles, Davison was involved in one of the only notable in-race scuffles for position with former stable-mate Chaz Mostert and current Tickford Racing driver Cameron Waters.
As a result, Davison suffered some damage to his Ford Mustang after he ‘tripped over’ Mostert. Even without that though, Davison said it was tough to race.
“It was really hard work. We were still quite competitive, but certainly, over a stint it was hard to manage.
“I had a lot of understeer, a lot of instability in the rear. With the new dampers, you’re sliding off the kerbs. It was one of the tougher stints I’ve had in a while.
“When we start understanding what we require with the set-up I think you’ll be rewarded if you nail the set-up over a race stint. It’s trick to drive the cars, that’s just the way it is at the moment.”
Davison was disappointed not to quite carry on the form which he had shown in the weekend’s three practice sessions or qualifying, having gone from third on the grid to a finish of fifth.
The 37-year-old lamented the missed opportunity but said he is pleased with his speed.
“It’s been a great few days, but yeah, a little bit disappointed to be fifth after being top three in every session.
“It’s a great way to start the year though, consolidate some points and kickstart things.”
Qualifying for Race 2 starts today at 11:50 local time/12:20 AEDT.