Call for fix for ‘massive’ gear tower failure

Tim Slade's Chevrolet Camaro broke a gear lever tower, and it was not the only car to do so. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Tim Slade’s Chevrolet Camaro broke a gear lever tower, and it was not the only car to do so. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

A recurring failure of gear lever towers in the Gen3 Supercars will need to be addressed, says PremiAir Racing Team Principal Matty Cook.

PremiAir’s Tim Slade was running 13th in Race 8 of the season at the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint when he pulled off after the tower upon which the gear lever is mounted broke.

Thomas Randle reportedly also suffered a similar issue when he brought his Tickford Racing Ford Mustang into the garage midway through Race 9, but the problem is thought to be more widespread than just those two cases.

Asked if it was something which the Gen3 Technical Working Group will have to look at, Cook told Speedcafe, “Yeah, this is a massive failure, this is quite significant.

“We’re three race events in, we’ve got a lot to go, this is now a heavily stressed item and we’re going to have to life it, maintain it, look at it.

“Something has to be done because it’ll happen at Bathurst, or it’ll happen somewhere else, or where you don’t want it to.”

Explaining the issue, Cook said, “The gear lever is bolted to the tower and the tower’s bolted to the chassis, and it’s broken where the tower bolts to the chassis.

“The bolts are still in the chassis but it’s just ripped all four mounting points out of it, which is average. We’re the third race meeting in and we’re not the only one; apparently it’s happened for a couple of other teams this weekend as well.”

Gen3 Supercars gear lever tower

The tower which sheared through its mounting points. Picture: Fox Sports

The nature of Gen3 is that the tower is a control part.

It had in fact already been updated prior to the Wanneroo Raceway event, but it appears now that it is a case of back to the drawing board.

“There was an update that happened to the tower which we did and obviously it’s still failed,” noted Cook.

“It’s not great. The whole gear lever mechanism’s quite sturdy and then when you bolt it to something that fails, there’s not much you can do about it.”

Tower breakages were not the only gear lever issue experienced during the Wanneroo weekend, with both Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Shane van Gisbergen and Matt Stone Racing’s Cameron Hill finding that theirs would not return to position after a shift in Practice and Race 8 respectively.

Slade managed to finish Race 8, albeit two laps down in 24th, once he was able to observe that the lever was still ultimately connected to rest of the shifting mechanism and hence could still function with some improvisation.

He scored results of seventh in Race 7 and eighth in Race 9 to leave Perth 14th in the championship, one position behind team-mate James Golding.

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