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Gen3 Supercars to have more road car DNA than ever before

The Gen3-spec Supercars will carry more road car DNA than ever seen in the category, says Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess.

Ford Mustang Supercar

Photo by: Ford Performance

The next-generation cars, set to be introduced next season, will be built on a new control chassis better suited to two-door body shapes such as the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro.

The lower roll hoop will avoid the odd dimensions of the current-spec Mustang, which was built over a chassis initially intended for the four-door sedans such as the Ford Falcon and the Holden Commodore.

That combined with a wholesale drop in downforce is likely to see the Gen3 cars offer a much more faithful representation to their road-going counterparts.

Burgess says homologation teams Dick Johnson Racing (Ford) and Triple Eight (GM) were given an additional month to tweak early designs to ensure they incorporate as much road car DNA as possible.

Having now seen near-final designs he reckons the cars look sensational, with the renders released last year not necessarily a truly accurate guide to what will become the end product.

"I wouldn't want to compare them to the renderings, the renderings were done very early in the piece," he said.

"But what I can say is that we purposely built a month of… I wouldn’t say delay, but we allowed both manufacturers to go further down the road of incorporating as much road car DNA into the styling of the cars.

"For me they look sensational. We're not quite ready to put them on view yet, both of the manufacturers need to give us permission to do that.

"But they will carry far more road car DNA then we've ever seen on a Supercar before. I don't think anyone's going to be disappointed when they see them.

"It doesn't have a great big rear wing on it anymore because we're not trying to create circa 400, 450 kilos of downforce anymore, we'll be down at 150 kilos or around that area.

"The number isn't the be all end all. It's about getting the parity between the two and keeping the right amount of drag on the cars.

"Obviously we don't want to be going over 300 km/h down the chute at Bathurst. So we've been doing a lot of simulation with a projected final weight to the car, where we think we'll end up on weight, where we want to be on engine power and where we want to be on downforce and drag.

"But the outer skin of the cars are both pretty well locked in now, we're just finishing some cooling work and making sure that both cars have got the right level of cooling for these engines.

"Obviously these engines, modern architecture engines with alloy blocks as opposed to a cast iron block, the cooling requirement is far greater than an iron block. So we're just making sure we've got the right radiator ducts and core sizes.

"But the position of the radiator and position of the rad boxes, that's all been locked in. We're just making sure we've got parity, at least in CFD, before we go to the runway and do a VCAT."

That CFD work is being done by Supercars' aero partner, UK firm D2H, before VCAT – real world straight-line tests on an airport runway – will determine the final aero homologation later in the development process.

"We're running through the options that we've got in splitter position, in rear wing position in X and Y, in width of the rear wing element… we're just going through tests, making sure that we've got enough tunability to be able to paratise [the two models]," added Burgess.

"We'll get parity for sure in CFD. But then once we put them on the runway, just to allow for any small differences, we're making sure we got enough range to adjust both the cars to the desired outcome.

"And all our work we've done at last couple of VCATs, you know... no one even mentions the P word anymore, which is quite satisfying.

"We believe that we won't have a problem with getting both cars balanced and at the right drag-and-downforce that we're looking for."

The Mustang caused a significant aerodynamic headache for Supercars when it was first introduced alongside the four-door ZB Commodore in 2019.

The aerodynamic performance of the car quickly came under fire, Supercars running through a number of CFD-backed aero tweaks on both cars during the season before having two cracks at VCAT ahead of the 2020 season.

Supercars hopes to begin track testing with its Gen3 prototypes in August.

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