Craig Lowndes is delighted with the reliability of the General Motors' Gen3 Camaro prototype Supercars engine as development continues.
KRE Race Engines has been tasked with the development of the GM engine, with Ford teams to run Mostech Race Engines-built motors.
Lowndes, series leader Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup and Broc Feeney have all recently taken the wheel of the engine development car, housing the GM Gen3 engine prototype for testing.
Lowndes conducted the lion's share of the running on the second and third days of testing. Van Gisbergen also ran on the third day.
Category head of motorsport Adrian Burgess recently told Supercars.com that the new Gen3 ruleset provided an opportunity double the life of current engines.
Lowndes was given a clear directive at testing - drive as hard as possible and see how the engine copes.
From Group A to Project Blueprint, Car of the Future and now, Gen3, Lowndes has had a taste of several iterations of cars and engines.
So far, even a winner of 110 races couldn’t force the engines into serious stress.
"My instructions were to drive it as hard as I could," Lowndes told Supercars.com.
"I had to drive it as hard as I could to try and break it, and to date, we haven’t been successful!
"The power delivery is nice, the way it drives is great.”
New engine rules will mandate a single throttle body at the entrance to the engine inlet, much like road cars.
There will be an all-electronic fly-by-wire throttle, and a single butterfly on the throttle body.
After a day of installation at Queensland Raceway, testing centred on running, idling and acceleration.
From throttle modulation to lowdown acceleration and torque, Lowndes and KRE were pleased with the outcomes.
It allowed a greater focus on engine mapping, after testing allowed for connecting the throttle fly-by-wire to the butterfly to become more linear.
"Being a crate-spec engine, to do what we’re doing with it, it’s holding up really well,” Lowndes said.
"Obviously time will tell, but the reliability of the engine has been fantastic.
"It’s one thing to put an engine on a dyno, but getting it in a car has been really valuable. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it.
“The engine is an evolution of what we’ve got.
“We wanted to bring it all together; the throttle pedal matching the butterfly, the butterfly matching to the mapping of the engine.
"It was a challenge to get those three components working in harmony, but it’s working well.”
The Gen3 project has gained significant momentum in recent weeks, from successful aero testing results to wheel development.
Reliability and drivability of the engine has also so far proven positive, and Lowndes was excited to see fans brought closer to the racing than ever before.
"It’s important to look forward and make it relevant to what people use on the road these days,” Lowndes said.
"GM and Ford will have engines that are more relevant to the fanbase, and that’s exciting."