Ford Forced To Make Aero Changes Ahead Of Perth Supernight – The Facts And The Fans’ Reaction
Ford teams Tickford Racing and DJR Team Penske have both been forced to make more technical changes to their Mustang supercars, after they were found to have an aerodynamic advantage over their Holden and Nissan counterparts.
The changes relate to the Mustangs’ rear wing and undertray and are based on the Racing Entitlements Contract and Rule A1.4 in the Supercars Operation Manual.
Rule A1.4 is the technical parity rule. The manual states the rule includes, but is not limited to, “stringently applied technical specifications and homologation requirements; and aerodynamic equalisation, and the use of category wide control parts.”
The manual says “To the extent that it is possible, Supercars will use its best endeavours to ensure a level playing field for all competing makes and models of Car, specifically in the following performance areas:
- Total aerodynamic downforce
- Aerodynamic downforce balance
- Aerodynamic drag
- Engine power
- Fuel consumption.”
According to Supercars.com, the changes require the size of the Mustangs rear wing endplates must be reduced, the undertray extension must be reduced and the cars must be fitted with a lower rear wing Gurney flap.
Supercars.com said the changes were decided upon following extensive analysis or track data by Supercars’ technical department, as well as Computational Fluid Dynamic with a UK-based technology company.
Supercars, DJRTP, Triple 8 and Kelly Racing all gave the tick of approval to the new Mustangs following homologation testing last year.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer told Supercars.com it is important for cars entering the competition (such as the Mustang, which took over from the Falcon as Ford’s race car at the beginning of this year) to meet the existing models in the series.
“The Mustang is a world class race car and we respect the work that has gone in to developing the package. Despite passing VCAT (Supercars aerodynamic testing) any incoming car needs to meet the incumbent.
“DJETP and Ford Performance understand that technical parity underpins the success of the sport and accept the changes.”
In response Mark Rushbrook, Global Director of Motosport, Ford Performance, released a lengthy statement on Tuesday.
“The Mustang is an advanced, state-of-the-art Supercar, designed and built within the rules of the series. We are disappointed that we have had to make changes to the cars, however, we respect the Supercars technical department and will comply,” the statement read.
The changes will need to be implemented before the next round of Supercars races, which will take place at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth from May 2 to 4. Tickford and DJRTP will be looking to extend Ford’s winning streak, having won nine out of the ten races so far this year.
It comes after Ford and Holden cars made centre of gravity changes by shifting ballast to their rooflines after testing revealed a disparity between the Mustangs, Commodores, and the Nissan Altimas.
The Supercars Operation Manual states that the Supercars Commission may order a parity review between all makes and models of competing cars at any time during a season.
Both DJRTP drivers, Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard, have reacted on social media. In Twitter posts, McLaughlin commented “Nothing like fire in the belly,” while Coulthard joked that he “wasn’t planning on a haircut this week.” As of Tuesday evening, neither teams have publically commented on the situation.
Ford has declared: “From here on we will do our talking on the racetrack.”
HOW THE FANS REACTED
The news has seen Supercars fans post thousands of comments on social media, with many voicing their distaste in the decision.
“In the absence of proper wind tunnel testing of all 3 cars this is a sporting parity reaction NOT a technical alignment.” (Norm Ackland – Twitter).
“Good to see Supercars moving in a forward direction.” (Daniel Brown – Facebook).
“So given Supercars have admitted that the Mustang has had an advantage that needs rectification via these changes, do they wipe the championship points for the first few rounds and start everyone back at zero? #trolling.” (Glen Germaine – Twitter).
“…Not all Mustangs were top 10 last I looked. It all seemed fine while 888 was winning. Now they are not and the temper tantrums are unbearable for Supercars…. Give a lot of credit to the DJR Penske boys please.” (Michael Pfitzner – Twitter).
“Boo hoo Penske cheating again nothing new.” (Andy Letford – Facebook).
“So what’s next if they continue to win… Take off a wheel or two? No one complaining when Triple 8 dominated for the last 6-7 years… Triple 8 were 1 second slower at (Phillip Island) than last year how is that the Mustang or Penske fault.” (Brendon Matthews – Twitter).
“The parity taking place is all about evening out the field for good close racing where the smallest mistake can cost you the win, that’s what it’s all about. I’m a Holden fan, but I don’t care who wins as long as we get some close racing. No one wants to watch a couple of cars pull lengths on everyone else.” (Andrew Markel – Facebook).
“Would you call this a performance penalty rather than parity alignment? When Supercars say the parity was closest ever and that the Mustang was within the rules, I can’t read it any other way. No reward for better engineering or design smarts within the rules.” (Frosto – Twitter).
“The tweak is fair but highlights that the homologation process was inadequate.” (Bewilderbeast – Twitter).
By Laura Devoy.