Whincup steadfast in Supercars parity stance
Tuesday 20th June, 2023 - 3:55pm
Jamie Whincup has reiterated his stance that no firm parity conclusions can be drawn from race event data, as Ford teams ramp up the pressure on Supercars for changes.
Once again, Chevrolet teams collectively thrashed their Ford rivals at the Betr Darwin Triple Crown, with eight podium finishes out of a possible nine, including all three victories, although one arguably slipped through Cameron Waters’ fingers when his Mustang caught fire while leading.
Walkinshaw Andretti United Team Principal Bruce Stewart surmised there was “a little bit more than white noise” in the outcome, which seemed to be a reference to recent comments from Whincup to Speedcafe, with Blue Oval team bosses calling for urgent action.
Whincup, Team Principal at the Triple Eight Race Engineering team which homologates the Chevrolet Camaro, is unmoved.
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“I’m not sure [if there is an issue],” he told Speedcafe.
“I don’t know, you don’t know, no one knows if there is an issue because no team runs a Ford and a Camaro side by side.
“So, all we can do is just do proper testing.
“As I’ve said before, you can’t you can’t test two different team cars on the track because they’re set up completely different, so all that data is just completely useless.
“It’s okay to give you a guide to go and do an investigation, which is in the in the current rulebook, so the rulebook’s correct; yep, if it doesn’t look right, then do an investigation.
“But then you go into your investigation, and you work on numbers out of that, on how to make sure they’re the same.”
Whincup, though, trusts that Supercars has got Gen3 parity right, until such time that it is proven otherwise.
“Supercars have done a good job,” he added.
“They’ve done a heap of testing; VCAT twice, gone on the chassis dyno, engine dyno… they’ve done everything, they’ve done a very good job.
“All those numbers when we compare on all those proper solid tests, the cars are exactly the same.
“Now, is there is there something else there that we don’t test? Maybe.
“Supercars, they’ve got a plan to continue evolving, and to keep testing for more and more things, which is great.
“Because, if there is a difference between the cars, hopefully we can find it in a proper, structured test regime.
“As the GM [General Motors] homologation team, if Ford come to us and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem with either our engine or our car; here’s the facts on why it’s wrong,’ we will absolutely have no problems allowing them to change, and I hope we get the same respect the other way as well.”
Supercars operates on the basis of technical parity, per Rule A1.4 of its Operations Manual, and Whincup insisted it cannot go down a balance of performance route which some have claimed the Ford camp is angling for.
“We’re pro-parity, we’re pro both cars being the same and allowing the teams to go out there and race and be better than each other,” declared the seven-time drivers’ champion.
“We’re absolutely against balance of performance. If the category goes… well, they can’t go down the track of balance of performance.
“They can’t make adjustments to the cars without scientific evidence. If they just give one car more power, or one car more aero, that’s balance of performance and that’s completely against… You’re going to go against the integrity, and break the rules, by going down the BoP path.”
Amid talk of transient dynamometer runs and the ordering of torque sensors, Whincup also cautioned that Supercars could conduct more testing at great expense and still not uncover a disparity.
“We don’t know why the results are skewed towards the GM side,” he stated.
“Because of the results, Supercars is going more testing at their cost, and I feel for them.
“Hopefully, they can do some more testing and either prove that the cars are the same, or find a problem and we move on.
“But they could they could spend half a million, a million dollars and not find anything. There might not be anything there.”
Details about the trigger remain something of a mystery, although it is through to be a formula based on lap times for the top six cars of each make.
When results have been too lopsided per that formula for a sustained period of time, then the threshold has been met for a parity review, although whether any technical changes result depends on what the review finds.
What muddies the waters at the moment, according to one Chevrolet figure, is the constant tinkering with the cars.
In the last four events, the Mustangs have raced with as many different engine maps, while the Camaros were given a minor centre of gravity adjustment during that period.
Waters praised the latest map after qualifying on pole position for Race 13, but Edwards says such tweaks were not uncommon previously, when teams had more technical freedoms.
“Don’t forget, the mapping that we talked about is really just what we would have done week in, week out last year; just fine-tuning,” he told media including Speedcafe at Hidden Valley.
“I mean, the map that’s in our car could have been the map that was in the car for the first round of the season.
“It’s not as though we’ve been given any extra freedoms or anything like that; it’s just optimising the package we’ve got.”