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Ford still not satisfied with Supercars Gen3 parity

Ford continues to harbour concerns over the parity between the Mustang and Camaro Gen3 Supercars following the latest round of prototype testing.

Gen3 Ford Mustang GT

The Blue Oval has been worried about the competitiveness of the Mustang compared to the Camaro since the seventh-generation model was official unveiled at Bathurst last year.

Those concerns were heightened at the VCAT aero homologation test, ultimately prompting another round of testing with the two prototypes last month.

It's understood the concerns lie with both the aero performance of the Mustang relative to the Camaro and the Ford Coyote V8 engine compared to the pushrod Chevrolet unit.

As a result the two cars are yet to be formally homologated, despite the start of the 2023 season in Newcastle being just over a month away.

And the saga is far from over yet, with Ford Performance chief Mark Rushbrook confirming that Ford doesn't believe parity has been reached based on the latest round of testing.

“I think the industry, the media certainly, has sensed or heard bits that, as a manufacturer and aligned completely with all of our racing teams, that we are not satisfied that parity has been reached either for engine or aero,” he said.

“That goes back to some of the VCAT testing that was done, and when we left there not satisfied that parity had been achieved.

Supercars teams have begun to reveal their liveries for the 2023 season, but the cars are still yet to be homologated

Supercars teams have begun to reveal their liveries for the 2023 season, but the cars are still yet to be homologated

Photo by: Blanchard Racing Team

“And also, more recently, with some of the testing, comparative testing that was done on track that the acceleration of the cars down the straightaway is not equivalent.

“So, [there] certainly are some concerns there, but we’re working together in a very transparent, collaborative way, just like we do in all other racing series around the world with the series and with Triple Eight as a competitor, as the lead [Chevrolet] homologation team, to find solutions for that.

“We were in a very similar situation in NASCAR about two months before we went racing with the NextGen cars a little over a year ago, and the industry came together in a very collaborative way where Chevy and Toyota and Ford and NASCAR and all of the racing teams rolled up our sleeves, and we shared data, and we looked at it objectively as engineers, and we found solutions and made changes to the cars.

“Less than two months later, we had a start of fantastic season and introduction of that new car and great racing through the full series.

“We approach it that the same way in every racing series that we go to, and it’s no different here.

“So, while there are challenges, certainly challenges in front of us, we believe the series understands the urgency that’s required, Newcastle’s not too far away, and that we’re looking forward to a solution to be able to race with parity across both brands.”

The engine issue, meanwhile, is thought to be related to the Coyote's interaction with the control MoTeC electronics, rather than the V8 unit itself.

According to Rushbrook, it's little surprise that there have been challenges balancing the quad cam Ford and the pushrod Chevrolet.

Mark Rushbrook

Mark Rushbrook

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“There’s always a lot of speculation of what’s really happening or what’s not happening, so I do think it’s important that we speak not even not just within the walls, or the discussions only with Supercars and with Triple Eight, but that more be shared transparently with the media, with the fans of exactly what is going on,” said Rushbrook.

“I think everybody knew, when we started the Gen3 project, that it was going to be a challenge to balance, to have proper parity between two very different engine architectures, and I think we’re seeing some of that play out at this point in time.

“There have been points in time where, if you look at our engine and some of the advanced technologies on it, with what we’re able to do with that engine on the road car, we’re not able to do the same things in the race car, on the race engine. Some of those knobs and controls have been turned off.

"That is the frustrating part, I think, for us.

“We take that same base engine, as a Coyote-based engine, and we’re able to meet the regulations and meet the parity or the balance in other racing series around the world, so there’s certainly not a lack of capability in that engine or the team that’s developing it, so I don’t have any lack of confidence or concerns with that.

“It’s a matter of the very different architectures and the process that’s being used to balance it.

“I think similar for aero; I think we showed when we brought current car that we’re racing [the Gen2 Mustang], that the people from Ford Performance developing that car are very capable to develop a fantastic race car.

“We saw that on the debut of that car, and it’s the same people that worked on the development of this body.

“So again, not worried about the confidence or capability of the team that’s developed it. It’s just a matter I think of following the process and establishing that parity and being able to go race that way.”

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