Dane explains support for paddle shift in Supercars

The cockpit of a current Triple Eight Race Engineering Supercar, including sequential gear lever (partially obscured by the anti-rollbar levers)

Roland Dane has explained why he supports the introduction of paddle shift in Supercars, as development of the Gen3 ruleset continues.

The Triple Eight Race Engineering boss was already known to have been a proponent while his team manager, Mark Dutton, has publicly stated that the system would be beneficial from a safety perspective, given it would clear an injury hazard from the cockpit.

Dane has now made fresh comments of his own in an ‘ask me anything’ session on online forum Reddit, advocating for paddle shift as a cost-saving measure.

The matter had been raised by user ‘ElectricHornet’, who asked, “Do you think Supercars should move to paddle shift?”

Dane responded, via Triple Eight’s account, “Yep, I do.

“Personally, on a road car I like manual, but in a race car from the point of view of looking after the engine and gearbox and keeping costs under control, paddle shift is something that works.

“It’s a part of every race car in the world now.

“Some people like them, and some don’t – everyone’s welcome to their own opinion.”

Although not explicitly stated, Dane’s comment would presumably account also for the likelihood that automated throttle blip would be incorporated into a paddle shift system.

It is pertinent to note also that the engines which will be used in Gen3 Supercars are road car-based, hence the timeliness of revisiting technologies which might ease the strain on powerplants.

‘Assisted Shift’ was referred to in a tender opened by Supercars in January, in which it was stated that “At this stage, an E-shift system is likely.”

Nevertheless, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer told Speedcafe.com in April that both paddles and a stick shift would be trialled during development of Gen3, and that no decision on auto blip had yet been made.

Presently, Supercars drivers must heel-and-toe on the downshift to ensure a smooth change, although some are believed to deliberately induce some level of compression lock-up to help with rotation of the car, as demonstrated by Paul Morris in a video published this year on Speedcafe.com.

As to differences of opinion about paddles and auto blip, key stakeholders are understood to be supportive, but a number of drivers certainly are not.

Triple Eight’s own Shane van Gisbergen has been less than subtle in his opposition to both features, while Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat recently told Speedcafe.com that he hopes Supercars’ new owners, whoever they may end up being, will junk the idea.

Gen3 is not set to debut in competition until August 2022.

Triple Eight and Dick Johnson Racing are the homologation teams for General Motors (Holden, Chevrolet) and Ford, respectively, and thus key parties in the development process.

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