This season’s NZ V8 Series may be in danger of becoming a one-make championship.
Only one meeting into the 2006/2007series, Holden Commodore drivers are talking of boycotting Round 2, at Ruapuna at the end of this month.
They’re disgruntled at what they see as a continuing performance advantage held by the Ford Falcons, and are petitioning MotorSport New Zealand to re-address the parity between the two brands.
Fords dominated last weekend’s meeting at Pukekohe, Angus Fogg qualifying on pole and John McIntyre and Australian David Besnard winning the three races.
If things stay the way they are, Holden Commodore drivers say there’s no point in their even coming out to race: the Commodore simply can’t match the Falcon for speed and acceleration.
Besnard started from 27th spot in the reverse grid finale and scythed his way through the field to challenge pole-starter, reigning champion, Kayne Scott, with just a few laps to run.
He swept past Scott with ease on the back straight, though Scott twice took the lead back with massively-late braking for the hairpin, before deciding that further resistance was futile.
The Holden drivers say that steps taken by MotorSport NZ during the off-season to address parity have proved fruitless, and that the Falcon still holds a power and torque advantage.
They say it wasn’t only the top Fords – McIntyre’s, Besnard’s and Fogg’s – that had an edge over the Holdens: all the Falcons in the field were outrunning their Commodore counterparts.
Among the moves MotorSport NZ took to create parity was reducing the Ford V8’s compression ratio to try to cut its torque output.
Dynamometer tests show the Ford’s torque to be reduced significantly compared with last year’s car, but Holden drivers say that hasn’t transferred to on-track performance.
Holden drivers say the Ford jumps better after each gearchange and outstrips the Holden in a straight line.
They say they’re unconvinced by Ford drivers’ assertions that the Commodore will hold the advantage at twistier tracks, like Ruapuna and Timaru.
One leading Falcon driver says he believes the Commodore is the better all-round package, though he concedes that at the moment the Ford is the quicker in a straight line.
The Commodore drivers have signed a petition and say that if nothing is done about re-addressing parity within the next few days, they won’t be at Ruapuna.
Should the boycott go ahead, the NZ V8 series would become a one-make championship, like three of the others that comprise the summer series – Porsche GT3 Cup, Mini Challenge and Formula Toyota (which uses the same Toyota motor mounted in identical Tatuus chassis).
- Mike Stock.