SPOTTED: MUSTANG SUPERCAR TURNS LAPS AT WATKINS GLEN

The black Mustang being worked on at Watkins Glen. Photo: Supplied.

WHAT appears to be a former Supercar from ‘Down Under’ has been spotted turning laps at Watkins Glen International in the United States this week.

A matt black Mustang, minus the Supercars-specification rear wing and clearly running Dunlop Supercar tyres, was photographed and videoed at the circuit.

The photos and a video was supplied to V8 Sleuth and other Australian media sources today (May 11).

However, while some may jump to the conclusion of the car’s on-track running being to test for Supercars purposes, it would rather appear to be a way for NASCAR pilots to get more on-track time in the wake of significant testing restrictions in the Cup Series this year.

Reports from trackside sources indicate that Team Penske NASCAR drivers Joey Logano – who won last weekend’s race at Darlington – and Ryan Blaney were behind the wheel of the car at the open track day.

This year’s NASCAR Cup Series features all-new cars and testing is highly restricted for teams. Outside of the four-pre-season days at Daytona and Phoenix, the only other testing is done by tyre supplier Goodyear involving selected teams at different tracks.

The new NASCAR Cup Series cars also feature a transaxle and 18-inch tyres, making a modified ex-Supercar a relevant vehicle to use for road course running to give drivers extra laps given the testing restrictions in place in the category.

The car was matt black, save for a small yellow ‘22’ decal on the front guard. Logano races with the #22 in the NASCAR Cup Series.

It makes sense that the car testing at Watkins Glen could be the ex-DJR Falcon V8 Supercar that was sent to the United States during 2015 to Team Penske’s base for the purposes of evaluating a chassis build program using the team’s Mooresville, North Carolina facility.

However, Supercars clarified in 2016 that any chassis must be built in Australia and the DJR FG19 chassis sat idle until Ford Performance chief Mark Rushbrook requested a Mustang Supercar display car.

DJR Team Penske team members were sent to the United States and converted the chassis into a Mustang, which was placed in Shell V-Power livery colours to mimic the team’s race cars of those years.

Supercars approved the car to be used as a show/promotional vehicle and not being used for Supercars-related testing.

The front undertray was removed and the rear wing gurney taken from the bodywork among the changes that were required before approval was given for the car to be used for display and demo purposes.

It was placed on display at Ford HQ in Dearborn, Michigan, later being driven by Ryan Briscoe at Virginia International Raceway. Ford global CEO Jim Farley drove the car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year, still in its Shell V-Power colours.

The Mustang up close at Watkins Glen. Photo: Supplied.

Team Penske departed Supercars at the end of the 2020 season after joining the championship in 2015 by acquiring a majority stake in Dick Johnson Racing and forming DJR Team Penske.

It won the Supercars Championship three times with driver Scott McLaughlin in 2018, 2019 and 2020 before selling out and the team reverted to its Dick Johnson Racing moniker with Dr Ryan Story and Johnson as co-owners from 2021 onwards.

V8 Sleuth has sought further information and comment from both American and Australian sources, and we’ll update this story as more details come to hand.

Ford CEO Jim Farley drove FG19 in 2021. Photo: Supplied.