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Critical week for new-spec Ford Gen3 engine

DICK Johnson Racing hopes to have its upgraded Ford Gen3 engine signed-off by Supercars later this week, following last-minute validation testing of new components.

Significant work on the 5.4-litre Coyote V8 has been undertaken since late last year, when DJR took over the control engine supply for Blue Oval teams from Herrod Performance.

DJR tested its new and old-spec engines back-to-back last week and again has both versions in action today; Car #11 fitted with the new spec and #17 in its 2023 guise.

Returning DJR principal Ryan Story is spearheading the engine program, which together with off-season aero changes are hoped to bring parity between the Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

“Since taking over the Ford engine supply in December of last year, we’ve embarked upon a comprehensive research and development program that has led us to undertake a number of on-track tests, implementing the torque sensors the series has commissioned,” Story told V8 Sleuth.

“That consisted of some straightline testing at Southport and a couple of days at Queensland Raceway.

“Today one of the Shell V-Power Racing Mustangs is running a new-spec that we plan to be the primary spec for 2024 and later this week at Winton we’ll see one of the Ford Mustangs also adopt the new-spec engine to continue to put miles on it as we prepare for the Bathurst 500.”

The Mustang set to adopt the new-spec parts later this week at Winton is the Blanchard Racing Team’s CoolDrive entry, driven by rookie Aaron Love.

BRT has in fact pushed back its test plan by a day – now running a rookie test on Wednesday and its full two-car test on Thursday – to accommodate the engine validation work.

The BRT car was selected by DJR for the testing as it’s expected to clock up the most miles of any this week, thanks to Love’s rookie day.

Aaron Love’s CoolDrive Mustang. Pic: Supplied/Race Project

Grove Racing has likewise pushed its two-day program back a day to share the Victorian circuit with BRT, with Thursday now also hosting its full two-car test.

Changes to the Ford engine are centred around improving the efficiency of the quad-cam motor, which has to be paritised against the pushrod Chevrolet.

Recent work is understood to have focused on equalising the moment of inertia between the two fundamentally different motors.

The Ford engine upgrade will be tested on Supercars engine expert Craig Hasted’s dyno this Thursday in order to check it fits within the category’s parity benchmarks and approve it for race duties.

DJR is poised to put its new engine parts into production following this week’s validation and sign-off, ensuring it can produce enough for the full fleet of Mustangs in time for Round 1 later this month.

It’s hoped that the performance of the two engines will be such that they can run the same shift-cut timing, following the use of that parameter as a band-aid parity tool last year.

Although recent engine testing has utilised the category’s new torque sensors, much-trumpeted transient dyno running will not take place before the Bathurst season-opener.

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