Ford's future in the Australian Supercars Championship is under scrutiny as the automaker's global motorsport chief expresses discontent with the current state of affairs. Since the departure of Holden from Australia in 2020, Ford has been the sole car manufacturer directly supporting the country's premier racing category.
However, the 2023 Supercars season, under the new Gen3 technical regulations, has been challenging for Ford's iconic Mustang, seemingly at a disadvantage compared to the dominant Chevrolet Camaro. The Ford Mustang secured its first race win only recently and has struggled to match the Camaro's performance, with the latter continuing to dominate the championship.
Despite efforts to improve parity since the season opener in Newcastle, the technical disparity between the Camaro and Mustang persists. As a result, Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsport chief, has openly expressed frustration and confirmed that Ford is reevaluating its future in the series.
Data Transparency Crucial for Competing
Rushbrook highlighted the lack of real-time data sharing between Mustang and Camaro teams in Supercars, which hampers the understanding of performance differences and makes it challenging for Ford and its teams to make informed decisions.
He emphasized that transparency in data is essential for manufacturers and teams to compete effectively. While acknowledging that Supercars is making efforts to address these issues, Rushbrook also expressed a wish for quicker action.
However, Rushbrook refrained from stating that Ford would withdraw from Supercars if the parity problem persisted. He emphasized that the decision to participate or leave any racing series is complex, and they carefully assess each opportunity worldwide.
For Ford, it is crucial that any race series fosters technical innovation transfer between road cars, race cars, and back to road cars. Regarding the possibility of Supercars adopting NASCAR rules or bringing NASCAR to Australia, Rushbrook encouraged discussions between the two series.
He believes that sharing efficiencies, parts, systems, and vehicles between different series can make sense for manufacturers and enhance the racing experience. While Ford acknowledges the uniqueness of the Australian Supercars Championship, they are still evaluating its suitability as a competitive platform.
The Ford versus Chevy rivalry remains an attractive aspect of the championship, but the current Gen3 parity tools have not fully accommodated the different engine architectures, displacements, body designs, and aerodynamics.
Despite the challenges, Ford recognizes the potential of the Supercars series and the significance of the Australian market. They continue to work with Supercars to improve the situation and find a balanced and competitive environment that aligns with their objectives as a manufacturer.
As discussions and evaluations continue, the motorsport community awaits Ford's final decision, which could lead to momentous changes in the Australian Supercars Championship.