Independent comparative dynamometer tests of the Holden and Ford racing V8 engines will be conducted today, November 8, as MotorSport New Zealand investigates the parity controversy that threatens to rip apart the 2006/2007 NZ V8 championship.
The tests will be done under MotorSport NZ technical department supervision, and it’s understood that their outcome will help decide whether any further action is taken to rectify the alleged disparity between the cars.
The parity issue resurfaced at the opening round of the Parker Enzed championship at Pukekohe, south of Auckland, last weekend.
Ford Falcons dominated the weekend, taking pole starting position and winning all three NZ V8 races.
There were rumblings among Holden drivers from early in the race meeting that MotorSport NZ’s off-season steps to reduce the Falcon’s allegedly superior horsepower and torque had not worked.
Those steps included reducing the Ford V8’s compression ratio in a bid to cut its torque.
It’s understood that dyno tests showed a torque reduction, but the Holden drivers say that on-track the Falcon still held an edge.
They say on-track tests should have been made before the changes to the Falcon engine were ratified.
The boil-over came after the reverse grid Race 3 on Sunday.
Reigning champion Kayne Scott started from pole after a miserable weekend chasing engine problems in his Commodore.
Australian V8 Supercar driver David Besnard started from the back of the grid in his Falcon and caught and passed Scott with three laps to run.
The Falcon swept past with ease on the long back straight and immediately opened a gap of several car lengths.
Twice Scott fought back and re-passed Besnard under braking for the hairpin before conceding further opposition was futile.
After the race, incensed Holden teams and drivers drew up a petition urging MotorSport NZ to re-address the parity issue.
They said that if nothing was done within the next few days to even up the cars, they wouldn’t front for Round 2 at Ruapuna, near Christchurch, at the end of this month. That would effectively scupper the championship.
Ford teams say they don’t believe there is a parity issue, and that the top Falcon teams simply went to Pukekohe better prepared with better car set-ups than the Holden outfits.
They say Pukekohe was a special case, given that it is effectively two flat-out straights joined to two very slow corners, and that at twistier tracks like Timaru, Taupo and Ruapuna, the Commodore will be better than the Falcon.
One Ford driver maintains that, despite the seeming superiority of the Falcon at Pukekohe last Sunday, the Holden is the better overall package.
It’s understood that, depending on the data gathered in today’s dyno tests, MotorSport NZ may announce further changes affecting either motor which will come into effect for Ruapuna, and that the threatened Holden boycott may be averted.
- Mike Stock.