Supercar News | The good, bad and ugly of Supercars’ long-awaited Gen3 racing debut
After a pandemic, three delays and constant questions about whether cars would ever hit the track – finally the new era of Supercars has begun.
There were plenty of nervous faces in the pit lane as the new Ford Mustang and all-new Chevrolet Camaro rolled out for first practice on Friday.
The category CEO even hinted that he would shed a tear.
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The long-awaited and highly publicized Gen3 era promised a lot, but did its debut live up to expectations?
Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the Newcastle 500 season opener.
ON TRACK : Strange as it may seem, having all 25 cars on the Newcastle grid was a feat in itself.
Rightly or wrongly, many doubted the cars would be ready for 2023 due to supply issues.
Between the creation of the concept and its deployment, the world went through a pandemic, war broke out in Europe, personnel and philosophies changed, and the cost of raw materials and freight skyrocketed, bringing three times the idea of the $250,000 turnkey racer.
Even though the cars weren’t fully prepped – missing dashboards in the case of the Ford Mustang and adjustable anti-roll bars in both models – just getting the cars on track was reason enough. to celebrate.
Perhaps the biggest vote of confidence came on Saturday afternoon when almost all 25 cars crossed the line with no mechanical issues to speak of.
PARITY: Before the event, there were a lot of joint discussions. Would the Camaro have an advantage over the Mustang, as many had thought?
By the end of the weekend, the P-word was barely thrown around, and if it was, it was largely in a positive light – albeit with a tinge of caution attached.
The real test will come on the faster circuits where the aerodynamic balance of both cars is put to the test.
SHAKEN NOT MOVED: When the season opened, many hoped the pecking order would be turned upside down.
Unsurprisingly, the powerhouse that is Triple Eight Race Engineering topped the roost, overall.
However, it was heartening to see Erebus Motorsport clinch the first pole position and bona fide midfielders PremiAir Racing vying for the top five spots.
THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT: All told, the cars looked good and sounded good and were undoubtedly still Supercars.
Even better, the cars seemed difficult to tame. There was a lot of tail wagging and cars missing tops lap after lap.
The older Gen2 cars were so polished that mistakes were rare. Newcastle have shown that these new Gen3 cars are a handful, and for the better.
ZIP, CHAMPION: A cloud hovered over Gen3 from the first tests to its deployment.
Among those unwilling to comment is three-time champion Shane van Gisbergen.
Behind the scenes, he was critical and often hesitant about new cars.
Perhaps thinking there was safety in the numbers, he opened up after Saturday’s race and a few flaws in a new car – which obviously didn’t go over well.
Van Gisbergen was the victim of a spray of Supercars, as were some journalists, who wrote stories perceived as negative.
DENTAL PROBLEM: With any new car, finger issues are inevitable.
Dick Johnson Racing had recurring clutch issues while several other teams struggled to get the wheels to seat properly on the hub, often costing valuable time in qualifying.
PremiAir Racing were the hardest hit with podium contender Tim Slade left stuck in the pit lane during race one for over a minute with a stuck wheel.
HOT AIR: One of the main goals of Gen3 was to allow cars to track alongside each other by reducing overall downforce and aerodynamic turbulence.
As champion Shane van Gisbergen explained, Dunlop tires always suffer from overheating when following a car in front.
His comments were not well received by Supercars. Reports say reporters were called by Supercars shareholder Mark Skaife who complained about the negative press after Saturday’s race.
Nonetheless, there were encouraging signs throughout the race with cars able to follow each other closely – compared to Gen2 cars at least.
THE UGLY ONE
PRESENTATION OF DRIVERS: Saturday’s attempt at a walking grid that featured driver introductions was awkward to say the least.
Bad timing and pilots getting bogged down with each other and fans made for a messy start to proceedings.
The theory was there, but the execution was poor.
NO SHOW PODIUM: After winning the first race, Shane van Gisbergen was notably absent when his name was called.
His teammate Broc Feeney raised his arm as if to hug the ghost of van Gisbergen, who was nowhere to be found. More than a minute later, he stepped onto the platform.
GRAPHIC PROBLEM: Along with a new car came a new graphics package at the broadcast.
However, it was not all easy. The most obvious issue was making it difficult to read the names initially (pictured above) – an issue that was resolved on day two.
Other weird issues included misspelled pilot names, wrong manufacturer next to names or numbers like “23rd” reading “23rd”.
Qualifying was particularly difficult to follow with graphics not recording a new lap time that had been set.
Perhaps worst of all was when the graphics completely disappeared.
DSQ DUAL: Triple Eight’s unresolved disqualification from race one tarnished what should have been the celebration of the new era of Supercars.
As it stands, Cameron Waters has the race one trophy in hand, but a call from Triple Eight could bring back the silverware.
At the very least, the controversy will keep Supercars in the limelight to some extent in the three weeks between Newcastle and Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix.
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