Will Supercars nerf the Mustang?

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Words: Nile Bijoux
21 Mar 2019

After two dominant race weekends, it looks like Supercars will introduce new regulations to rein in the speed of the Ford Mustang .

Those could include centre of gravity (CoG) rules as well as modifications to the Mustang’s aerodynamic package.

Ten Supercars had the CoG tested at Team Kelly Racing this week, including a Mustang from the car’s official homologation team, Shell DJR Team Penske, and a Holden Commodore ZB from factory-backed Red Bull HRT.

Essentially, Holden and Nissan teams think the Mustangs have been built underweight then ballasted to meet requirements. By building a racer that way, teams can push the centre of gravity lower, aiding cornering. This suspicion gained legs when Supercars found the exhaust silencers of DJRTP Mustangs to be significantly heavier than their rivals. These were replaced for the Melbourne races with lighter units.

A heavy exhaust is an easy way to keep weight low in a car without declaring it as a ballast. DJRTP boss Ryan Story said his team were running the mufflers as early as Phillip Island last year but changed them when Supercars asked them to.

Other accusations include the Mustang having a flat floor, which can boost downforce and reduce drag, and that a prototype Mustang was wind-tunnel tested in America. Physically testing a Supercar in a wind tunnel is illegal after it has been homologated and DJRTP promptly rejected both claims. The team said the Mustang was only designed using computational fluid dynamics.

While the new data is being looked at, both DJRTP and fellow Ford racers, Tickford Racing, are saying that both the Holden and Nissan racing teams are struggling to work well with the newly-mandated linear springs, so says Story.

He added that the team would accept whatever decision Supercars comes to but wanted to see more data as well.

However, Holden and Nissan have other ideas. They reckon some of the Mustang’s aero kit should be penalised, like the rear-spoiler endplates, theorising that they give extra cornering grip. That said, none of Ford’s rivals have gone on record saying as such.

Red Bull head Roland Dane came the closest, admitting that his racers aren’t at the level of the Mustang yet but adding that “Supercars can decide what needs or doesn’t need to be done.”

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