Edwards: Camaro dominance ‘a bit of a worry’

Gen3 Supercars

Tim Edwards (left) and Tickford Racing co-owner Rod Nash (centre)

Tickford Racing Team Principal Tim Edwards has described the Chevrolet Camaro’s dominance of Supercars’ official pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park as “a bit of a worry”.

Camaros locked out the top eight, with 11 of the 14 in the field making it into the top 12 in the afternoon session and on combined times, raising obvious parity questions.

The fastest Ford Mustang belonged to the Blanchard Racing Team, although Todd Hazelwood was still 1.0344s off the pace in the #3 CoolDrive entry at the end of the day.

Tickford’s best was the #6 Monster Energy-backed car which Cam Waters and enduro driver James Moffat shared, in 16th on the timesheet at 1.6621s back from top spot.

Edwards acknowledged that tyre choice had a large say in the outcome, but was still concerned by the outcome.

“Well, it’s not a good look but it’s a bit hard because you don’t know what tyres everyone was on,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“I did see one or two cars go down the pit lane on super softs, so you don’t know, and then people remove the markings off the tyres so that further complicates it.

“But, on the surface of it, it’s a bit of a worry.”

Triple Eight Race Engineering Team Manager Mark Dutton, however, suggested there was gamesmanship in how the Mustangs rolled out as compared to his and the other Camaros.

“Without looking at what tyres everyone was on, because there are three slick compounds … we were trying to be trainspotting out the front, going, ‘Okay, there’s someone rolling out on blue, another one on blue, another one on blue,’” he recounted to Speedcafe.com, ‘blue’ being a reference to the sidewall letter colouring which denotes a super soft compound.

“It’s also hard to tell if they’re greens [new tyres] or not – you try and look at that, whether they’re blue, white [soft], or yellow [hard] – but without knowing exactly what the Mustangs all ran on, I don’t know if it’s gamesmanship happening or what; I would think so.”

A Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro

Fellow Chevrolet competitor Brad Jones, whose own Andre Heimgartner topped both sessions in the #8 R&J Batteries Camaro, argued it is “hard to read a lot” into the timesheets.

He cited not only tyre choice, but also claimed the Camaros were running about 60kg lighter than the Mustangs on account of their engine.

As yet, Supercars has not issued a minimum weight, which would be the same for car plus driver across the brand divide, with the 60kg discrepancy thought to be roughly the difference between a Coyote double overhead cam engine and the General Motors pushrod unit.

In any event, Supercars confirmed in the hours after the test that more “straight line evaluations” will be held next week, although it stopped short of referring to them as VCAT (Vehicle Control Aerodynamic Testing), notwithstanding that the activity it described is consistent with VCAT.

Back at Tickford, it was frustrating for reasons other than any parity concerns.

Not only was rookie primary driver Declan Fraser missing due to tonsillitis, two of its other entries lost chunks of track time, due to a throttle problem for the #55 Castrol Mustang of Thomas Randle and subsequently a power steering failure for Car #5 of James Courtney.

The dramas restricted the laps which Randle, Courtney, and its other co-drivers – Garry Jacobson, Zak Best, and Tyler Everingham – could achieve.

“It was a shocking day,” declared Edwards.

“We had issues on the 55 car – he was struggling with the throttle feel – and then we had a power steering pump fail on Car #5 with a couple of hours to go.

“So, there’s a couple of little mechanical gremlins there that we’ve got to work out, and then with the [changeable] weather and then not having one of our drivers here, all in all, it was a tough day.

“I mean, we got good laps on all the co-drivers – that was definitely a positive out of it – and we did learn a little bit, but not as much as we would have liked.”

Tickford still has one test day up its sleeve for the #5 Snowy River Caravans Mustang and #56 Tradie Mustang before the season starts with the Thrifty Newcastle 500 on March 10.

A Tickford Ford Mustang

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