Paddle shift in Supercars Gen3 Mustang prototype

The prototype Gen3 Ford Mustang Supercar ran paddle shift for its maiden voyage at Queensland Raceway yesterday.

Paddle shift in Supercars Gen3 Mustang prototype

Prototype testing of the next-generation Supercars formally kicked off yesterday as the Gen3-spec Mustang completed a shakedown at the Ipswich circuit.

Live data from the car, built by Ford homologation team Dick Johnson Racing, was beamed to Supercars' technical and motorsport staff, who are currently based at Sydney Motorsport Park.

DJR enduro driver Alex Davison took the wheel for the maiden voyage.

The test took place behind closed doors, with details – including imagery – very thin on the ground.

However it was revealed on the Castrol Motorsport News podcast this week that the Mustang was fitted with paddle shift as part of the evaluation of gear selection systems.

That goes against earlier plans for the Mustang to initially run a stick shift while the Camaro would be fitted with paddles.

It was always planned, though, that both cars would test both systems as part of the category's move to Assisted Gear Shift.

Paddles has been a controversial topic along the Gen3 journey so far, with the majority of drivers against the move.

Fan reaction has been similarly negative, however the push to paddles has continued on the grounds of cost saving.

Gen3 Ford Mustang prototype

Gen3 Ford Mustang prototype

Photo by: Supercars

The idea is that AGS and auto blip, combined with paddles, would help protect engines and gearboxes from over-revs.

With the current manual sequential shifts drivers often purposely over-rev the cars to help them turn.

While there was real momentum around the paddle move several months back, sources have recently indicated that it is now significantly less likely.

But there is still no hard and fast confirmation either way, beyond the move to electronic shift, which can be done by either paddles or a stick.

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Supercars Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess confirmed as much off the back of yesterday's first trial of the paddles.

“As previously communicated, the plan has always been to try both paddle shift and stick shift during the testing phase," said Burgess in a statement provided to Motorsport.com.

“No decision has been made yet on what we will use when racing commences for Gen3 in 2023.”

The Mustang shakedown adds to a significant week for the Gen3 development, after Supercars offered a sneak peek of both the Mustang and Camaro.

The footage published by Supercars shows cars that are significantly similar to their road-going counterparts, particularly compared to the current Mustang.

But beyond that there was little to tell about the final look of the cars as neither were fitted with aero-specific bodywork.

Both cars are expected to be publicly unveiled at Bathurst early next month.

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