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Supercars aero upheaval confirmed for 2020

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Supercars aero upheaval confirmed for 2020
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Sep 17, 2019, 8:33 PM

Supercars will re-homologate the aero packages on all eligible models at the end of the 2019 season, in a bid to rid cars of downforce and avoid a repeat of this year's parity drama.

The Aussie series has confirmed that homologation testing, using a tweaked version of the VCAT process, will take place at the end of this season.

The intended outcome is an overall drop in downforce compared to current-spec cars, as well as a more level playing field between the Ford Mustang, Holden Commodore, and Nissan Altima (should the latter still be in service).

Motorsport.com understands the test will take place on the first week of December.

The drop in downforce is aimed squarely at improving the racing, aero wake having become a keen topic of complaint for drivers.

Paddock speculation had placed the reduction as high as 40 per cent, however Supercars technical chief Adrian Burgess says it won't be a dramatic drop to begin with.

"We will re-VCAT at the end of the year and take a small amount of downforce off the cars," he said.

"Long-term, it might be something that we look at more seriously, and take a larger amount away, but at the moment we're going to do it in such a way where we're not creating teams that go and design new this, and new that, and new this.

"It's just a first small step in a direction where I think every category is looking around the world, in terms of taking down force off the cars."

More parity news:

A clean slate will also be used to avoid a repeat of this year's aero parity storm, which has seen ongoing in-season adjustment between the three models.

It was started by the introduction of the Mustang which, despite being signed off by Supercars and rival homologators during VCAT testing late last year, is thought to have started this season with a significant downforce advantage.

The Mustang has since had downforce taken away, while both the Nissan and the Commodore have been adjusted to help bridge the gap.

With the VCAT process shouldering plenty of the blame for the saga, an active damper system will be used this time around.

It will allow Supercars to test downforce levels at different ride heights and rakes, eliminating the possibility for teams to fudge the system through purposely inefficient geometry. 

The new-look VCAT system should help the category avoid the expense of overseas wind tunnel testing.

"We've improved the process, how we do the VCAT will change," said Burgess. 

"We've been developing an active ride system, so we could put the car in as many different ride height configurations as we want.

"We'll paritise the cars across the full spectrum of ride heights, which is which is different to how we've done it in the past. 

"[The active damper] won't be something we go and race on, it's something purely for measuring the downforce on the cars. 

"It uses load cells, it can measure the force being generated, and we can change the ride height of the car one millimetre in 150 milliseconds, we can change the front or rear ride height.

"So we'll just measure the cars through a far greater range of ride heights.

"Downforce changes with the ride height. So it's an improvement to the whole process. 

'It was something that's been looked at in the past, but it wasn't done to the degree of accuracy or repeatability that you'd need, so we've been working this year on doing that, and we have run a few times with our own car to make sure we're happy with the process and happy with the accuracy of it. 

"We're at that point now to do a full VCAT at the end of the year, using active ride."

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer added that the ultimate goal is to avoid a repeat of the ongoing tweaks seen so far this season.

"We've got to do the hard work now, so that we don't have to go through what we've gone through this year," he said.

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen