THE Gen3 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have been declared aerodynamically level after the end of the category’s historic United States wind tunnel test.
Category technical chiefs and representatives from Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering spent the last three days at the Windshear Full Scale Rolling Road Automotive Wind Tunnel in Concord, North Carolina.
According to a report on the official Supercars site, by the close of play both Supercars and the homologation teams were “agreeing both cars were level.”
“It is a relief. There is a lot of pressure and a lot of tension, there’s a lot at stake here,” Supercars CEO Shane Howard told supercars.com.
“We had three days here, we prepped the cars, scanned the cars, got the cars in here, there’s a lot of tweaking and sometimes, you’re chasing your tail.
“But it was refreshing to come here this morning and around 11 o’clock, we got the nod that both cars were in the box.
“It’s been a really good exercise, good people, everyone worked really well together, the HTs (homologation teams) worked well together.”
All up, the equivalent of 4000 kilometres of running was completed across the three day test, as each car was tested in its original trim, with changes then made to both the Ford and the Chevrolet in the pursuit of aerodynamic parity.
In comparison, 1600km was clocked up across the VCAT straightline testing held at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport in late 2022.
“There’s such a significant difference in the amount of information between a runway test and being here at this amazing facility here at Windshear,” Howard explained.
“For example, at a VCAT test, we did 700 to 800 kilometres (per car) in one week. Here, we’ve done over 4000.
“At a runway test, we’re assessing on three or four different points on a car on downforce and drag. Here, they’re assessing it on over 50 different properties.”
Tim Edwards, Supercars’ new general manager of motorsport, said the last six days have consisted of 18-hour days to prepare and execute the landmark test.
“We got ourselves to a point where we settled on the Camaro yesterday, so then it was up to the Mustang and DJR,” Edwards told supercars.com.
“You can only run one car at a time, so somebody had to go first. And because the Mustang has had quite a few changes this year, they had more toys to play with, more parts in their cabinet.
“We got a bit off an inkling of where we were at last night, so gave the guys the opportunity to go home, have a sleep, and come back refreshed this morning with a plan.
“It was probably about 11 o’clock we got close to the box, and then they spent the rest of the day trying to refine that and optimise things.”
Supercars has yet to reveal what changes await the Mustang and Camaro’s aerodynamic specifications for the 2024 season.
However, while the cars’ aerodynamics appears to be squared away, that is not the end of the category’s pursuit of parity with the Gen3 platform.
Transient dyno testing is scheduled to be the next step, to evaluate the differences between the Ford and GM engines and how they interact with the full drivetrain setup, while on-car torque sensors have arrived in Australia but are yet to be used on a car in action.
“Going from here, we’ll still be looking at the engines, we’re looking at a program on an AVL (transient) dyno,” Howard added.
“We’re using better tools to get better information to make better decisions, to ensure we get equitable racing situations.
“The focus will go on that, and we’re not far from the start of the season.
“You take the Christmas break out of that, and we’re back into it. So we’re looking forward to that.”
Cars are scheduled to hit the track for the first time in 2024 on February 5 when the northern teams conduct their preseason running at Queensland Raceway, while the southern teams get their opportunity on February 7 at Winton.
The opening round of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship is slated for February 23-25 with the Thrifty Bathurst 500.