It seems that whilst many rejoice at the success of the Mustang in adapting to the V8Supercars rules and regulations, their competition is not so happy at the ease of transition and clear dominance.
Most have now moved on from the disproportionate appearance of the car, which of course was due to it’s requirement to fit into the Control Chassis, however there were more regulations and compliance criteria than just the shape over the chassis.
One of the other engineering challenges with the transition of the world’s favourite sports car into the Aussie V8Supercars series, was the minimum weight compliance.
Just like the ZB Commodore which was introduced to the Supercars Series last season, the Mustang brings with it new materials for construction which makes it lightweight. In order to comply with the Supercars regulatory body, the cars need to meet minimum weight restrictions as well as other factors such as downforce, airflow and of course engine capacity etc.
The Mustang was left a little light of the minimum weight, however the very clever Shell V Power team of Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) and Penske group, together with Ford Performance, interpreted the requirement in a very creative way that gives the Mustang an advantage – a very fair and legal one!
The Shell V Power engineers decided to comply with the minimum weight restriction by placing heavier exhaust mufflers under the car which act as ballast. The mufflers weigh 24kg each compared to the ZB Commodore and Nissan’s 4kg, thereby lowering the centre of gravity and in automotive performance terms, that means better handling around corners and acceleration out of the apex.
It must be noted and emphasised, that this practice is by no means illegal nor even a controversial grey area under the current ballast compliance and regulations. This is however, a very creative and clever implementation of that regulation.
In response to the complaints raised to date by the ZB Holden camp, DJRTP responded by saying that it’s Mustangs have much less ballast than when the Red Bull Holden Racing Team ZB Commodores debuted in Adelaide last year.
In fact, DJRTP didn’t complain about that last year, mainly because they preferred to get on with the job of winning the championship which they did with the driving skills of young gun Scotty McLaughlin!
You see, DJRTP, like most real race enthusiasts and professionals know, it takes more than engineering to win races with enough consistency to win the whole championship. Of course it’s important, but the driver’s skills and talents should be the most important thing once the cars are equalized.
The Mustang went through extensive compliance engineering and changes in order to meet the regulations and after almost 2 yrs of development and overcoming challenges, the governing bodies of the V8Supercars granted the necessary compliance certification to the Mustang in order to allow it to compete.
In fact to the point here, Scotty McLaughlin was able to win the Championship despite the fact that he was driving what was by comparison, a legacy and antiquated body – albeit iconic – of the Ford Falcon. At that time, the ZB Commodore teams had the ballast adjustment that assisted their car in meeting the regulations.
At end of the day, whether the ballast requirement is met by heavier mufflers, or other means, the criteria is what needs to be ticked in order to comply with regulations. The Mustang does this as does the ZB Commodore and the Nissan.
Let’s just get on with the real racing and championship!