DJR concerned at Bathurst 1000 hopes amid parity limbo
Monday 2nd October, 2023 - 6:00am
Shell V-Power Racing Team Principal Ben Croke is concerned about their prospects at the Repco Bathurst 1000 in the event that the Fords do not receive a parity adjustment.
There has been a push from the Blue Oval Supercars camp for aerodynamic tweaks in time for the Great Race, which are thought specifically to be the idea of moving the Mustang’s downforce balance rearward.
Conjecture also remains about straight-line performance, including claims that the bodywork introduced at Townsville created more drag, notwithstanding that it was only intended to correct a substantial loss of downforce in pitch.
Whether there will be changes to aerodynamics for the Bathurst 1000 remains uncertain.
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Croke expects that DJR will be competitive, if the Mustangs benefit from some parity tweaks.
“Look, if nothing changes, we have pretty big concerns about how we’ll perform,” he told Speedcafe.
“If some stuff changes, I’m pretty hopeful that we should be able to compete and compete well.”
Ford teams were fearful after the drubbing which they collectively received from their Chevrolet counterparts in practice at the first enduro of the season, last month’s Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
They were more competitive on the Saturday and Sunday, albeit with the help of a change to shift cut timing, and while Camaros locked out the top five in the 158-lap race, a Mustang set the very fastest lap of the contest, and two of the faster Mustangs were taken out of contention by a bizarre incident involving the stray wheel from the #26 Grove Racing entry.
More problematic for the Ford teams’ case, though, is that an official parity review has not been ‘triggered’ of late, thanks in part to how competitive the Mustangs were prior to the enduros at The Bend.
As such, it would take direct intervention of the Supercars Board to force through another aero change ahead of the Bathurst 1000.
Speedcafe understands that none were agreed to when it met late last week, although that does not mean that they have been ruled out entirely for the Great Race.
No DJR figures sit on the board but it is Ford’s homologation team.
On whether he expects any further parity changes, Croke, speaking the day after said board meeting, replied, “I don’t know what to expect anymore. I don’t know.
“We’re trying; they’re trying not to. It’s the political boardroom game at the moment.”
It has been claimed to Speedcafe from the Chevrolet side, though, that trap speeds are inconsistent among the Mustangs, pointing to variances in ride heights, which would affect aerodynamic performance.
Whether or not approval is given for aero tweaks, which could include modifications to the front bar and rear wing, there will be new bodywork for the Mustangs come Bathurst.
However, given that development is beneficial with respect to centre of gravity, Chevrolet teams may also shift the ballast which had been placed above the Camaro’s fuel cell to a lower position in their cars.
On whether the changes to the Mustang will make a big difference, Croke explained, “No, not really. You’re only talking small amounts.
“Seven or eight kilos as a percentage of 1300, you’ll take it any day of the week, but it’s a small amount going into an endurance race like that.”
DJR, the last Ford team to win the Great Race, will field three Mustangs this weekend, including the full-time #11 and #17 entries of Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto and Will Davison/Alex Davison, respectively.
Practice 1 at Mount Panorama starts this Thursday at 13:20 local time/AEDT.
READ MORE: 2023 Bathurst 1000 schedule released