August aero test to "check the ruler"

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Qualifying in New Zealand saw the field split by just 0.58 seconds. Four different manufacturers have won races this season, all five in the past 12 months, and all marques have started from the front row.

Ford's Mark Winterbottom leads Holden's defending champion Jamie Whincup in the Championship, with the top five drivers all from different teams, and the top six separated by less points than a Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 win earns.

The racing is so tight on track, teams are fighting to gain hundredths of a second.

Yet parity has been a hot topic this season, and is one V8 Supercars is not taking lightly, despite the closeness and high quality racing that has played out in 2014.

It's rare to see a perfect race car - something generally has to be sacrificed. It's down to the engineers to call on what might have to be compromised on the car - what setup will complement the circuit, fit with the tyre allocation and strategy, and suit the driver's style and preferences.

Despite the close results, technical parity is still an important part of V8 Supercars racing - therefore CEO James Warburton and the Commission will "check the ruler" with a week-long aero test to be conducted from August 11-15 with the Ford and Holden new generation V8 Supercars prototypes.

"We're looking at the aero, so as the Commission Chair Steve Horne said, we're looking at the ruler, looking at systems and our processes and there will be some testing of the prototypes," Warburton told v8supercars.com.au.

"Certainly the issues and the noise surrounding it - from my perspective and my dealings with manufacturers, the day I stepped through the door it was pretty full on, pretty vicious in some circles. And now everyone is just getting on with racing.

"The category is proving it's bloody hard to win - and that's the way it should be.

"The first 15 or 16 qualifying sessions of the year, there was 18 metres - which is a transit bus - between five manufacturers."

Warburton complimented the job done by the Commission and chairman Steve Horne, as well as Director - Sport and Operations Damien White, but emphasised the importance of parity and revisiting aero parity.

A seven-man sub-committee was formed earlier this year, led by Steve Hallam, to focus on aero parity, with a number of team consultants and V8 Supercars technical staff who Warburton described as "the best people regarded in terms of aero up and down pitlane".

"They made a range of suggestions in terms of, this is aero and this is how V8 Supercars have dealt with aero - is this the best way?

"They made a range of recommendations, which we are implementing.

"Really, the focus of the test is to look at the prototypes and check the ruler, so to speak. Is it where it needs to be? If not, then we'll address it.

"That could all be fine, or maybe changes need to be made, and then the manufacturers will need to make their case in terms of what they want to do and go through the Commission."

The test had originally been planned for late July, but was pushed back to August to accommodate newly appointed Sporting and Technical Director David Stuart, who wanted to ensure he was across results from previous aero testing before leading the group.

The last aero test and homologation was conducted at East Sale in January, with the new-for-2014 Volvo, Nissan and Ford prototype ahead of the season start.

This time, it will be at Oakey in Queensland - a change made purely for logistical reasons, as it minimises the V8 Supercars Technical Department'stime away during a busy part of the season, and will not affect the testing procedures or outcomes.

Other manufacturers are not required at the test, given there will be no homologation.

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