CoG back under Supercars parity lens
Thursday 21st September, 2023 - 1:35pm
Centre of gravity changes could well form part of a package of Bathurst 1000 parity adjustments, after plans for such a tweak were developed before the Sandown 500.
Speedcafe understands that there was a move to introduce lighter door panels for the Ford Mustang Supercars ahead of the first enduro of the year, but that was ultimately deemed impractical given the short timeframes for implementation.
The initiative would follow a determination that the Mustangs had been running somewhat overweight, or were at least competing with suboptimal weight distribution, until the Sandown 500.
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The aforementioned minimum is in fact a ‘total dry’ (ie no fuel) figure which includes the weight of the driver and his/her complete apparel (helmet, race suit, etc).
However, Supercars also enforces a minimum front axle weight, as well as a minimum driver weight (including apparel), all of which may be met by the addition of ballast if necessary.
The problem which is said to have existed is that ballast needed to be added such that the Mustang met the minimum front axle weight, which was set at 725kg at the start of the season.
As a consequence, though, those vehicles were exceeding the total vehicle/driver figure which had originally been set at 1335kg.
That explanation is consistent with the fact that, while total vehicle/driver weight was increased ahead of the Sandown 500, the front axle weight was left unchanged.
As to why the change was called off/postponed, there are multiple possible explanations.
One is that there may not have been sufficient supply for all 12 Mustangs in the field.
A more widespread challenge was the workload on both Ford and Chevrolet teams, days out from the second-biggest race of the year.
While those on the Blue Oval side would have needed to install new door panels, the Chevrolet competitors had been instructed that they would have been able to shift 1.5kg of ballast to a lower position in their cars.
That weight would come out of the 4.97kg which was moved to a bar near the top of the fuel cell as a result of CoG analysis which took place in the days following Event 2 of the season at Albert Park.
Speedcafe understands that the lighter door panels may yet be introduced for the Bathurst 1000, amid a push from the Ford camp for further aerodynamic changes.
However, there is certainly not unanimous support for the new panels, at least not enthusiastically.
The cost of the new-for-2023 Gen3 Supercars remains a major concern among teams, and it is feared by some that lighter door panels will add to that burden.
Ford team bosses queried on the matter earlier this year by Speedcafe agree in a general sense with the desire of Jamie Whincup, Team Principal at Chevrolet homologation team Triple Eight Race Engineering, to find ways to achieve greater weight savings relative to Gen2.
The problem, according to Tickford Racing’s now outgoing Team Principal, Tim Edwards, is that the Camaro carries lighter, more expensive panels.
One Ford figure reasoned to Speedcafe that, if the Camaro would receive a beneficial CoG adjustment anyway, then there is no point spending time and money on lightweight doors.
In any case, it has also been put to Speedcafe, including from the Blue Oval brigade, that the Ford teams have more significant concerns than heavy doors.
The 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000 takes place from October 5-8.