Grove investigating Gen3 wheel failure

The #19 Grove Racing Gen3 Ford Mustang Supercar. Image: Colson Photography

The #19 Grove Racing Gen3 Ford Mustang Supercar. Image: Colson Photography

Grove Racing is still investigating the wheel failure that marred the team’s shakedown of its first Gen3 Ford Mustang Supercar at Winton last week.

The left-front wheel came adrift while David Reynolds was driving, stranding the #19 Penrite Racing Mustang off the circuit.

Team Principal David Cauchi dismissed the mishap as “a non-event”, but as yet he has no explanation for why it happened.

“It was just one of those things,” Cauchi told

“We’re not 100 percent sure exactly what’s happened. We have had some wheel nut clip issues, and there’s some tightness of the rims going onto the spindle, but we have to work through that problem internally, once we’ve had some time to analyse what’s gone on.

“It didn’t really hold us up at all. So, it was a bit of a non-event. We’ll just have to go back and look at it and understand what’s happened.”

In a post-test update, Cauchi claimed the wheel separation was a known issue as he persisted that it was no big deal.

“It was a bit of a non-event,” he emphasised.

“There are some things going on with the wheel and the spindle, which a number of teams have reported. I think that’s sort of caught us out, but we’re still looking into the exact cause.

“There have been some problems with the rim and the spindle tolerances, which is something we’ve notified Supercars about, but we’re waiting to hear back on a direction from them.

“But it was a non-event, really. It’s not worth discussing.”

Although there was no obvious damage after the incident, the car remained up on jacks in the garage for a long time as, according to Cauchi, the team changed the car’s set-up.

Shared between Reynolds, rookie recruit Matt Payne and star co-driver signing Garth Tander, the Grove Racing Mustang competed 77 laps at Winton.

Wheel mishap aside, Cauchi was very pleased with the team’s initial Gen 3 hit-out.

“It was a great day for the team,” he said.

“This is our first car that we’ve built 100 percent in-house, so all the boys and girls need to be extremely proud of what we’ve achieved. It’s in full race livery – fully ready to go, really. So, I’m very happy with how the day went.

“We have a lot to learn, just like every other team in pit lane. From an engineering perspective and from an operations perspective, the car is quite different to what we’ve been running for the last 10 or more years, so it’s a whole new generation of car, which is exciting.

“Everyone’s keen to learn and develop these cars to the to the level that’s needed to win races. We’ll just have to chip away, there’s still a lot more Ts to cross and Is to dot, but we will get there and we’ll go racing in Newcastle.”

While on the same day fellow Gen3 Mustang debutant Tickford Racing focused on Cam Waters, who completed more than 100 laps of the twisting 3.00km Winton circuit, Grove Racing chose to split the extended shakedown between its star trio.

“We have three fantastic drivers, so why not use every one of them?” Cauchi commented.

“We’re here to learn and develop as a team, so we’ve got three of the best drivers going around, so we’re going to use them to our maximum advantage.

“Three opinions, so it’s absolutely the right thing for us to do.”

Grove Racing had planned to run its second Penrite Racing entry at Winton on Monday, followed by a further test there on Wednesday before the all-in pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park on February 22.

However, it now looks like the team will delay its return to this Wednesday, possibly running both cars.

“We’re still waiting to get clarity on a few things from Supercars, so once that comes through, we’ll make a final decision,” Cauchi said.

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