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Supercars engine fires prompt emergency meetings

Emergency meetings are being held at Albert Park following a second serious Supercars engine fire in as many days in Saturday evening's race.

fire

The issues have occurred on Ford Mustangs from different teams, with flames engulfing James Courtney's Tickford machine in Race 3 after Nick Percat's Walkinshaw Andretti United Ford was also caught fire early in yesterday's second race of the Albert Park weekend.

The source of the fires is yet to be determined, with WAU left convinced the problem on Percat's car was electrical in nature, and related to a control sensor.

Supercars wasn't convinced by that however and issued a directive to teams today suggesting that the 'BF1 TPMS ECU', which is part of the tyre pressure monitoring systems, wasn't to blame.

Instead the series warned teams to check oil levels and drain catch cans before today's race – something that didn't prevent the Courtney fire. 

The second fire has now sparked tension in the paddock, with concerns over driver safety.

In the wake of the fire the Tickford garage was filled with senior technical personnel from almost all rival teams, as well as the likes of Supercars Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess and engine specialist Craig Hasted.

Members of the Technical Working Group have since met to discuss the issue. 

Tickford CEO Tim Edwards stopped short of putting a solid theory forward, except to say that it wasn't related to the oil tank or catch can and that it did feel like it was triggered by an electrical issue. 

"None whatsoever," he replied when asked if there were any clues as to what happened. 

Nick Percat, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Ford Mustang

Nick Percat, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Ford Mustang

Photo by: Edge Photographics

"Plenty of theories, everybody's got theories. It's obviously the same thing that happened to Nick's car. 

"We checked the catch can before the race and there was nothing in the catch can.

"I think the source of it has come from the electrical but we don't know."

While Courtney is out of tomorrow's race, Edwards did admit that he is concerned over putting his other three drivers back in cars that could feasibly suffer the same issue.

"Yes," he said when asked if concerned over driver safety.

"Anyway, the Technical Working Group are meeting at the moment. We're letting all the smart people discuss it."

As for Courtney's car being parked for the weekend, Edwards said: "We don't have half the spares to fix it.

"We'll wash it and put it on a flat bed and take it to the factory."

Burgess declined to comment on the matter when approached by Autosport, but Supercars has now issued a statement to respond to the matter.

“Supercars, Motorsport Australia and teams are committed to investigating the causes of the incidents in pit lane and working together on any necessary measures that need to be made moving forward,” a Supercars spokesperson said.

James Courtney, Tickford Racing, Ford Mustang

James Courtney, Tickford Racing, Ford Mustang

Photo by: Edge Photographics

“It is of our highest priority to ensure all drivers, teams, and spectators are able to enjoy Supercars events in a safe and secure environment.

“The teams and fire marshals demonstrated outstanding professionalism and quick thinking in their response to the incidents over recent days.

“These incidents highlight the critical role that volunteer marshals play in ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

“The incidents also showcased the strong sense of camaraderie and support within the racing community, as teams rallied around each other regardless of whose car was affected.

“We are working through this matter, further updates will be provided as soon as they become available.”

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