Ford boss declares Gen3 parity ‘pretty even’
Friday 10th March, 2023 - 2:51pm
Ford Performance boss Mark Rushbrook believes Gen3 powertrain parity looks “pretty even” after the first two practice sessions of the new Repco Supercars Championship season.
Chevrolet Camaros from Brad Jones Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering topped Practice 1 and Practice 2 respectively at the Thrifty Newcastle 500, but the Fords have appeared competitive enough thus far.
Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison, for example, was fastest for around 10 minutes during the middle of Practice 2 and the #17 Mustang ended up classified second at just 0.0374s off the pace.
“I think that Supercars has made a lot of improvements in the parity process,” said Rushbrook at the conclusion of the second session of the day.
“And by having a second test with VCAT and aero parity, things look really good there.
“Still understanding a little bit about the powertrain differences, but I think we’ve got a good basis for where we are now and certainly in Practice 1 and Practice 2 so far, it looks pretty even.”
Both aerodynamic and engine/powertrain parity had been sore points at least as recently as early last month, when Rushbrook delivered a bombshell press conference performance to Australian media as part of the Red Bull Ford Formula 1 announcement.
Supercars eventually opted for a so-called ‘mini VCAT’ at Temora last week, after which, ironically, the Camaro was given a tweak which handed it an extra 5kg of front downforce.
By the time Supercars and the homologation teams had arrived at Temora, however, the Camaro’s shift cut had already been elongated, while adjustments continued to be made to the Mustang’s engine calibration.
Walkinshaw Andretti United, Tickford Racing, and Grove Racing ran with a new map in testing at Winton last Wednesday week, a change which is said to have been well-received.
Speaking in pit lane on the eve of practice, Rushbrook’s stated position was “very clear aero parity” but a lower level of confidence on powertrains.
Thus far, however, there seem to be no glaring differences between the Camaro and Mustang after a total of 90 minutes of practice, although it is worth noting that the Newcastle East Street Circuit is not a particularly fast track on the Supercars calendar, and that differences in power and/or acceleration might be more apparent when the field races at Albert Park next time out.
Practice 3, another 45-minute hit-out, is due to start at 15:50 local time/AEDT.
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