Scott McLaughlin’s GRM Fujitsu Holden Commodore has beenpressed into service as a mobile test laboratory for a rear-end modificationdesigned to reduce chassis damage and improve repair time for the new generationof Car of Future V8 Supercars.
The redesign was made in the wake of McLaughlin’s race threecrash at Pukekohe in the ITM 400 Auckland, in which the car’s chassis wasdamaged too badly for it to be repaired in time for race four.
The incident highlighted a concern teams have had since theyfirst began fabricating CotF racers last year, which is the new independentsuspension rear-end is not as robust or as easily repairable as the old projectBlueprint racers’ live rear axle design.
The modification on the #33 involves mounting the lowerwishbones to the chassis via a clevis pin rather than being fixed by a weld. Inan impact that allows the wishbone to rotate and expel energy into the cheaperand easier to replace suspension subframe rather than tear up the chassis.
That means the car should be more easily and cheaplyrepaired by replacing the subframe rather than having to put the car on a jigin a workshop to straighten and repair the chassis.
All teams have been notified of the modification, which isbeing tested under the supervision of V8 Supercars, with the Technical AdvisoryPanel – which comprises engineers from all accredited CotF manufacturer teams –being kept in the loop.
“The theory behind this is that the bits that bend arereplaceable,” explained V8 Supercars category technical manager Frank Adamson.“You don’t have to go back to the jig to cut the part out and re-weld somethingin there.
“This (modification) is obviously not going to work in allimpacts because there will be a point where the forces are greater and they aregoing to bend the chassis anyway. It’s just going to happen.
“But for some of the more brush-type incidents it hopefullywon’t damage the chassis.”
Adamson explained that once the worthiness of the modificationis established it would be approved for all teams to adopt, although as it isnot a change that affects performance it will be optional rather than mandatory,allowing it to be introduced as cars are repaired or built.
Thankfully, McLaughlin doesn’t have to crash for the worthinessof the modification to be assessed!
“The main part of testing is that (we establish) it works inservice, so what the purpose of this weekend (Chill Perth 360) is that we pullit apart and we look for fretting and we look for any sign of movement just innormal standard service,” explained Adamson. “The accident side of it? Well itwill either be better or it won’t, and we won’t find that out till he hitssomething. But theoretically it should be (better).”
Meanwhile, with several big hits for the new car nowrecorded – including two for Scott Pye’s LDM ekol Commodore – Adamson says theoverall crash integrity of the new generation car looks good.
“The ekol car seemed to react very well, the way thecrushable structure at the front of the car worked. It was all very good. Therewas only one impact, but from that we are not racing out thinking we made amistake, we think it did a very good job of absorbing the impact.”