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Holden teams waiting on Phillip Island for Mustang comparisons

Holden teams waiting on Phillip Island for Mustang comparisons

Leading Holden squads Triple Eight and Erebus Motorsport are waiting on this weekend's Phillip Island to judge their form comparative to teams running Ford Mustangs.

After a fast start from Ford's new Mustang, which won the first seven races of the 2019 season, Shane van Gisbergen helped Holden to its first triumph of the year last Sunday at Symmons Plains.

The breakthrough win came amid an ongoing parity debate, and followed a mandated centre of gravity change that saw Mustang crews forced to redistribute more than four times as much weight to the roofline than those running Commodores.

Top Holden squads, however, are reserving judgement regarding the effect of the CoG changes.

With the Symmons Plains circuit not overly aero sensitive, van Gisbergen reckons the high-speed Phillip Island track that the series heads to this weekend will paint a clearer picture – particularly given how dominant the Mustang was at Albert Park, also a fast, flowing circuit.

"[Symmons Plains] is so unique," said van Gisbergen.  

"My car felt amazing at Albert Park; I was the best Holden and I qualified eight tenths off the pace with a pretty perfect lap with a slipstream.

"So we’ll see where we are [at Phillip Island]..."

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Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton stopped short of saying he's nervous about the weekend ahead, but hinted that the he expected the Mustang to excel through the faster corners at Phillip Island.

"I don't like the word nervous," he said. "They will be quick. They might be quick in a way that we can't match, let's put it that way. In certain corners. Ones with higher speed.

"We're confident at Honda [Corner], MG should be alright... the last corner, Turns 1 and 2, it's going to be challenging. We'll work hard and do as much as we can."

Erebus CEO Barry Ryan thinks the CoG shift has pegged the Mustang back a bit, but that Phillip Island could still tell a different story.

"It was pretty clear based on how much ballast they had to put on their roof that they had a clear advantage the last two rounds," he said of the Fords. "It was a massive amount of weight that had to shift. It's evened it up now, we're back to the pecking order of 2018.

"It will be interesting to see at an aero track, how it is. The Mustang at [Symmons Plains] definitely wasn't that good in a straight line, so it's obviously got a drag deficiency, but that's probably giving it an aero efficiency.

"We'll see at Phillip Island, it might be good around the corners and no good down the straight."

Supercars investigated conducting wind tunnel tests in between the Symmons and Phillip Island rounds, however the Monash University facility that was considered isn't big enough for side-on use, which meant the plan was abandoned.

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen