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HomeNewsTop Ford squad weighs in on Supercars engine parity

Top Ford squad weighs in on Supercars engine parity

GROVE Racing left last month’s Bathurst 500 as the top Ford Supercars team but still unconvinced that engine parity has been achieved.

Courtesy of solid performances from Matt Payne and Richie Stanaway in the #19 and #26 Penrite Mustangs, Grove has shot to second in the teams’ championship, only behind General Motors homologation outfit Triple Eight.

It’s reaffirmed internal ambitions that major end-of-year silverware is within Grove’s reach for 2024, although team principal David Cauchi remains certain that parity efforts are not yet complete.

While there is general satisfaction around aero following off-season wind tunnel testing, engines have continued to be a contentious matter.

Dick Johnson Racing developed an upgraded Coyote just in time for Round 1 of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship, but that unit seemingly has not entirely closed the gap to its Chevrolet counterpart.

Supercars has gathered data via torque sensors in recent times and was collecting selected engines for post-Bathurst checks, but a final resolution is not anticipated until time can be spent on a transient dyno in the coming months.

“From the timing we can definitely see some clear differences in the straight sectors between the two makes,” Cauchi told the Motorsport News Podcast.

“And we know, Supercars has been open that there is ongoing work with the engine programs, it was a very extensive aero program that went on over the summer break and now the same level of detail needs to go into the engine side of things to make sure that part of the car is paritised as best as possible.

“So look, without question there are question marks and there are things that don’t look quite right, but we need to allow that to go through the right process to get that resolved in the most scientific way of using the best tools available.”

When pressed on the matter at Bathurst, Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook noted Supercars’ existing processes – for example, AEP (Accumulated Engine Power) – might indicate there is parity, even if it’s not actually the case.

Asked if parity is present, Rushbrook replied: “We don’t know, honestly.

“The way the series defines it with aero, yes we do. The way the series defines it with AEP, they would say yes, using that historical process.

“But when we go under AVL (transient dyno testing), then we will really find out.”

Elaborating on the need for transient dynos, Rushbrook said: “When you race a car on track, the engine is in a very transient state as you go through different conditions through gear changes.

“With the dyno that is used here as part of AEP, it’s just a locked throttle… that’s not how an engine performs on a track.”

Supercars will also perform its latest Centre of Gravity parity test later this month, immediately after Round 2 at Albert Park.

Mark Rushbrook at the 2024 Thrifty Bathurst 500. Pic: Nathan Wong
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