Gen3 Supercars ‘arguably not as robust’ as Gen2

Tim Edwards examines the crashed James Courtney Mustang. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Tim Edwards examines the crashed James Courtney Mustang. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

The new Gen3 Supercars are “arguably not as robust” as their predecessors, according to Tickford Racing’s Tim Edwards.

Tickford entered four Ford Mustangs for the Thrifty Newcastle 500, as usual, but only three made the start of Race 2 after James Courtney’s crash in the Top 10 Shootout which preceded it.

Courtney came to grief at Turn 7 of the Newcastle East Street Circuit and while Car #5 largely missed the tyre barriers covering the concrete wall, the impact was still relatively low-speed.

While the engine escaped the damage initially feared, the vehicle could not be turned around in time for the following session despite the Gen3 chassis design featuring a detachable front clip.

Notable also was that Declan Fraser’s #56 Mustang, which hit the pit wall after he tangled with Macauley Jones at the start of Race 2, was also significantly damaged.

Edwards told, “Whilst there’s the advantage of Gen3 that you can unbolt that front part to change it, arguably with the previous car, our car would have easily survived that impact because the chassis rails were a lot more robust.

“[It is a] Completely different construction method; it’s now a spaceframe as opposed to before when you had very substantial chassis rails with a cross-member, et cetera.

“So, different construction technique, so yes, you can replace it but arguably not as robust as what we had before.

“The reality is, until you run the cars and see the mode of failure, no one really knows. You can do all the theoretical analysis but, certainly from what we’ve witnessed and even on the Tradie car [Fraser], the level of damage on that, is quite extensive, all the way back into the clip.

“A small accident like that should not transfer the load and destroy the front clip as well.”

Another issue which arose in Newcastle was the apparent weakness of steering arms, one of which Cameron Waters bent when he glanced the inside wall at Turn 9 as he chased Chaz Mostert for the lead in Race 2.

“You saw it with [Thomas] Randle [in Race 1] and you saw it with Cam [in Race 2]; a tiny little tap and you bend the steering arm, which unfortunately is a trait of front steer,” noted Edwards.

“It’s not ideal. Yes, it’s a positive we’ve got good car speed and we’re third in the championship, but that was a podium that got away.”

While the steering rack is now forward of the front axle centreline, there is still feedback which can go to Supercars.

The Tickford Team Principal said, “A hundred percent. We lived all of these things with Car of the Future. Over the first two or three years of its life, there were changes made to it.

“This is slightly different because we had a lot more scope to do things ourselves back then; now we’ve just got to sit back and go, ‘Well, that’s not good enough, can we please re-design that?’”

Waters is third in the championship having been classified the winner of Race 1, although that is pending Triple Eight Race Engineering’s appeal against its disqualifications.

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