Supercars confirms Gen3 chassis changes

The #34 Truck Assist Chevrolet Camaro of Jack Le Brocq

Supercars has confirmed that changes to the Gen3 chassis will be ‘optional’ to teams across the grid, following insights provided after two rounds of racing the new-generation Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang.

“The Technical Working Group approved some modifications to the front and rear clips, and chassis, to improve the impacts of damage learnt from the Albert Park findings,” said a Supercars media statement.

“This is a process of continuous improvement similar to what the series went through the last time it introduced a new platform.”

No further detail has been provided, and the changes are not mandatory for teams to implement.

Part of the goal in reducing repair costs for Gen3 was the introduction of front and rear ‘clips’ that would enable faster, simpler repairs in the event of an accident.

Watch Brad Jones explain the Gen3 front clip here.

Yet questions were raised following the first significant incident involving the new breed of Gen3 Supercars when Tickford Racing’s James Courtney crashed in the Top Ten Shootout at the season-opening Thrifty Newcastle 500.

The impact with the Turn 7 wall of the East Street Circuit, which occurred on the Saturday and ended the #5 Snowy River Caravans weekend, saw team boss Tim Edwards suggest that the repair costs were significant, despite the intention of Gen3 to be lower cost and simpler to repair.

“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,” Edwards told Speedcafe after the Newcastle crash.

“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 [Declan Fraser], the level of damage on that, is quite extensive, all the way back into the clip,” Edwards added.

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

At the Albert Park round, Shane van Gisbergen crashed heavily in the opening practice session which saw a rear clip changed on his #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Camaro.

Damage also saw significant overnight work on the #2 Mobil 1 NTI Ford Mustang of Nick Percat, following an engine bay fire on Lap 1 of Race 4 on Friday, as well as the #34 Truck Assist Matt Stone Racing Camaro of Jack Le Brocq.

“The nature of the rear clip, where it’s one of the first things bolted to the chassis, means that a lot of auxiliary components bolt to it and it’s a big job to remove it and replace it with a new one,” said Matt Stone.

“The benefit of that is the car is 100 percent brand new after quite a large incident and ready to qualify and race today.”

PHOTOS: Matt Stone Racing Truck Assist Camaro rebuild

Supercars has arrived at the changes based on the experiences of these teams, among others who’ve seen significant crash damage, following a Commission meeting earlier this week.

It follows on from Supercars commitment to work with teams on further reducing the costs of operation – including repair – of the Gen3 cars.

That has seen Brad Jones Racing’s Macauley Jones, for example, call for a more robust front bar for the Gen3 cars, following expensive damage to the two-piece items fitted to his #96 Pizza Hut Camaro after kerb hopping at Newcastle.

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