According to F1 Flow.com, both manufacturers entered today’s two practice sessions with a fresh engine map at their disposal.
Ford introduced their third new map in three rounds, as questions about the performance of their powertrain compared to Chevrolet persisted.
Chevrolet V8s also received an upgrade focused on enhancing drivability.
Triple Eight tested the new Chevrolet map at Queensland Raceway last week, where it reportedly performed well. It was also tested on a Brad Jones Racing Camaro at Winton with positive results.
However, during the first practice session in Darwin today, the new map encountered issues across the GM field, including poor idle characteristics and throttle response problems.
Consequently, Supercars decided to revert the Chevrolets back to the previous engine specification used in Tasmania.
The Chevrolets will continue to operate under that specification for the rest of the Darwin weekend.
On the other hand, the Ford upgrade appears to have been more successful. All Mustangs utilized the new map in both practice sessions at Hidden Valley, with some featuring a 30-millisecond shift cut and others a 50-millisecond shift cut.
Ford drivers dominated the combined practice times from the two sessions, with Anton De Pasquale (Dick Johnson Racing) leading James Courtney and Cam Waters (both Tickford).
However, Thomas Randle from Tickford Racing, who secured the fifth-fastest time of the day, informed F1 Flow.com that he did not notice a significant difference from the driver’s seat.
“To be honest, it’s difficult to perceive the change,” he stated. “Perhaps if we had driven a lap or two with the old map and then switched to the new one, it would have been easier to discern the difference. The last time I drove this car in dry conditions was in Tasmania, and that track has a distinct style.”
“It’s challenging to provide a definite answer, but it’s not like, ‘Oh my goodness, it feels like I have an additional 20 horsepower.’ There isn’t much noticeable change.”
Under the Gen3 regulations, teams no longer have control over engine mapping. Changes are implemented by the category in consultation with the homologation engine builders.
Triple Eight faced a significant issue during the first practice session when attempting to test a safety car speed limiter on Shane van Gisbergen’s car. The team was unable to resolve the problem on their own.
Even in the second session, Van Gisbergen continued to complain about throttle response despite reverting to the Tasmania map.
A more accurate assessment of each brand’s competitiveness will come tomorrow during the qualification for the first of three sprint races.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about engine performance
Q: What was the reason for Supercars reversing the Chevrolet engine tweak?
A: Supercars reversed the Chevrolet engine tweak due to poor performance, including issues with idle characteristics and throttle response during the practice session in Darwin.
Q: How did the Ford upgrade perform in the practice sessions?
A: The Ford upgrade showed promise, with all Mustangs running the new engine map and securing the top three positions in combined practice times at Hidden Valley.
Q: Did the drivers notice a significant difference with the new engine maps?
A: According to Thomas Randle from Tickford Racing, there wasn’t a noticeable difference from the cockpit. The change was challenging to feel, possibly due to the different track style and conditions compared to the last race in Tasmania.
Q: Who controls the engine mapping under the Gen3 rules?
A: Under the Gen3 rules, teams no longer have control over engine mapping. Changes are implemented by the category in consultation with the homologation engine builders.
Q: What issue did Triple Eight face during the practice session?
A: Triple Eight encountered problems when attempting to test a safety car speed limiter on Shane van Gisbergen’s car. The team was unable to rectify the issue independently.