Gen3 shakedown ‘quite a special day’ for Supercars

A sketch render of a Gen3 Ford Mustang. Picture: Supplied/Dick Johnson Racing

Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess has hailed the first shakedown of the category’s Gen3 specification Ford Mustang a landmark day.

On Wednesday the next-generation touring car cut its first laps at Queensland Raceway with Shell V-Power Racing Team co-driver Alex Davison at the wheel.

Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering personnel were onsite while key Supercars staff were either at the circuit or watching from afar in Sydney.

Burgess was among those watching from his hotel room, live streaming vision and data as the car underwent systems checks throughout the day.

Speaking with, Burgess said it was a relief to finally see the car hit the track.

“These programmes, they do take a long time, and I’ve gone through a series in my career in various different categories unveiling new cars,” said Burgess.

“You’re very excited to see how it goes, you’re very proud of all the people that have put in a hell of a lot of time and energy into this.

“It’s quite a weird thing to see a car run for the first time in any category. This was a bit weird as well because I’m down in Sydney, so I couldn’t actually be there to see it.

“The guys up in Queensland have done an amazing job, Perry Kapper (Dick Johnson Racing chief designer), Mikey (Michael Flynn, Dick Johnson Racing lead mechanic), and JJ (Jeromy Moore, Triple Eight Race Engineering technical director) and his guys at Triple Eight.

“It’s been a huge task to bring it to this point, so it’s quite a special day I think for the sport. As you know, we’ve all copped a lot of criticism about how long it’s taken, but the finished product… I’m loving it.

“I’m really, really excited about the car and what it’s going to bring to the sport and the teams and the fans. It’s a big day. It was a big day for everyone involved.”

The Ford Mustang has begun taking shape at Dick Johnson Racing. Picture: Supercars

Following the test, Supercars and the wider Gen3 working group conducted a debrief to go over their initial observations.

Already there have been some areas identified for improvement which will be made ahead of the Chevrolet Camaro’s first on-track test.

“We ran through a list of things that we’ve already found and experienced on the car that we need to change or modify or whatever the case may be,” said Burgess.

“It’s a normal practice for a race team to debrief after any test day or event and the process is no different for us. We’ve identified a few things that we need to improve, but it’s still very early, there’s still so many parts of the package that we haven’t even optimised yet.

“We’re not going to get any answers from some of the questions until we run the car a bit harder and faster, but even on a shakedown we generate a list of things that you know we need remedies for or fixes for.

“So we went through that process [on Thursday] morning. All of this information is shared. So a lot of the things we learned yesterday, we’re already doing ready for the Camaro when that runs.

“It’s not about DJR or Triple Eight building their own car. We’re building this car for the pit lane and for everybody. So all the work that we do is in preparation, just to get the base package right, reliable, and safe, and then towards the end of next year when the teams run their own cars, that’s when they will start doing all their own performance work.

“We’re certainly not doing performance work at the moment and we won’t do for a long time. This is about getting the base package reliable and making sure the oil system does what we need, making sure the fuel system does what we need, making sure all the electronics packages are doing what we need, making sure that the gearbox shifts reliably; upshifts, downshifts, the blip, making sure all this stuff is correct.

“Then at the end of next year, we’ll hand it over to the teams and then they will start trying to squeeze every last tenth out of the package. We’re in the very early stages of this so it’s been a massive amount of work to get there. But now the work changes or the focus changes on running the car and developing the car.”

The Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro prototype is set to debut next. Picture: Supercars

The maiden hitout for the Ford Mustang built by Dick Johnson Racing marks a major milestone in the progress of Gen3.

It’s expected the Triple Eight Race Engineering-built Chevrolet Camaro will test in the coming weeks.

Burgess said the feedback he’d received from those trackside was overwhelmingly positive.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to, they’re all rapt with it,” said Burgess.

“Everyone’s excited about it and excited to do more with it. Wednesday was only a shakedown, so these days are often very sort of troublesome with a lot of teething issues.

“You get that and we all expected that so I think out of the day everyone was happy with what we achieved for the first day.

“They’re all more excited about what we’ve got; the look and touch and feel of the thing and sound of it.

“Like I said, it’s a special day for the sport but you don’t probably really acknowledge it at the time.

“It’s a little bit different for everyone. We couldn’t all be there to see it, but I hope everyone is as excited as we are.”

After the Chevrolet Camaro has its first test, both cars will be officially revealed at this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 on Friday, December 3.

From there, testing will resume in the new year.

“We’re not going to race until 2023, so we’ve got a lot of development to do, make it reliable, make sure it delivers on the caveats that we’ve set out; racing close together, wheel-to-wheel racing, being able to follow each other close, in all the high-speed things – the issues that we currently have with the Gen2 car,” Burgess explained.

“We’ve got to go to validate all that. So there’s a lot of work to do. It’s an exciting first day. Everyone that’s involved should be very proud of seeing that car on the track. Hopefully everyone gets to share that feeling when we get to Bathurst.

Burgess thanked his fellow Supercars crew, the respective homologation teams, and all other parties involved in the development process.

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