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WAU laments being ‘a slave to the system’

RYAN Walkinshaw admits there is an element of doubt that comes with being a non-homologation team in the Repco Supercars Championship’s incoming Gen3 era.

Supercars’ new ruleset comes into effect next season, when Walkinshaw Andretti United will switch to Ford.

The championship’s two powerhouses in recent times, Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering, are the designated homologation teams for Ford and Chevrolet respectively.

Involved in that has been a high workload to develop the Mustang and Camaro prototypes, which in turn likely comes with increased understanding of the machinery – even if Supercars has made comprehensive efforts to share knowledge.

“You’re always a little bit frustrated when you’re not in charge of the program; you’re always a slave to the homologation teams in Supercars that are doing a lot of the leg work in it,” Walkinshaw said regarding 2023 progress.

“But so far we’re getting there. The last few months have been a big improvement on getting information from Supercars so that we can start developing parts and start building parts of the chassis so that’s promising.

“I hear the engine work is going really well as well which is encouraging and the parity of the engines is looking really good as well which is a really important, critical step for this category.

“We have got to make sure we have got engine parity, especially with such dissimilar engines in a lot of ways.

“We’re working really, really closely with Ford. It has been a good relationship and they have been fantastic.

“They’ve so far really exceeded our expectations on the partnership even before we’re fully in bed together so I’m really excited for the future on that front.”

The S650 Mustang Supercar at Bathurst. Pic: Nathan Wong

Pressed if he feared DJR and Triple Eight would have an inherent advantage, Walkinshaw added: “Every single team is always going to have a conspiracy theory that there’s an advantage to the homologation teams and in some ways there is because they know what’s coming before we all do.

“As I said, you’re a little bit of a slave to the system, which is obviously frustrating for us, especially when we know that we can do a lot of that work ourselves as well.

“However, I think Supercars have done a relatively good job at managing that so far from what I understand and at the end of the day the proof is going to be in the pudding.

“We’re not going to know until we go into our first test day with all of the cars together on-track just how close they are with each other.”

WAU finished runner-up in Sunday’s Repco Bathurst 1000 courtesy of Chaz Mostert/Fabian Coulthard, taking the chequered flag 1.0991s behind Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander.

During the event, the updated S650 Mustang was unveiled, offering a glimpse into WAU’s future.

“I think the car looks great,” said Walkinshaw.

“It looks like a proper race car, it’s a big improvement on the current Ford Mustang that we have in Supercars at the moment.

“This looks really a lot more like the road car so getting that feel for the fans and the Ford customers to have a Mustang that they’re driving that looks similar to the Mustang that is going to be racing, I think it is going to be really important for the category and a great step forward.”

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