Ford versus Holden becomes Ford versus Chevrolet in 2023, with the Camaro replacing the Commodore to take on the Mustang under the new Gen3 regulations.
SupercarXtra Magazine issue #127 goes under the skin of the Gen3 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro Supercars.
Since the introduction of the Australian-produced five-litre V8-engined Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore regulations from 1993, the foundation of the category has been four-door sedans. Now, with the Chevrolet Camaro joining the Ford Mustang under the Gen3 rules, the shift to two-door coupes is complete.
When Australian manufacturing ended and the Falcon and Commodore were discontinued, the Mustang and Camaro were the inevitable replacements. And four years after the Mustang replaced the Falcon, the Camaro replaces the Commodore for a new generation of Supercars.
The new cars have been designed with an eye on increased road relevance, with a greater likeness to their road-going counterparts. And that’s the most visible change with Gen3; they are lower and more akin to the Mustang and Camaro road cars.
The control chassis is 100 millimetres shorter than the current Supercars, not only to allow for a better fit for the Mustang and Camaro but also to make it easier for other manufacturers to potentially go racing with their own coupe-style body shapes. The Camaro and Mustang share the same wheelbases and dimensions, helping the category achieve parity between the two cars.
The difference in body shape is very noticeable when comparing the current Mustang Supercar to the Gen3 version, with the latter clearly a closer link to the road-going version. With the centre of gravity lowered, the Gen3 cars are also 100 millimetres wider for a more muscle-car look.
There’s a significant reduction in weight, estimated to be around 100 kilograms, for a minimum weight of under 1300 kilograms including the driver. There’s also a big decrease in downforce, more than 50 percent down from the current cars, with the rear-wing size noticeably smaller, the front under-tray removed and the rear-wing mainplane common between the two cars.
With less weight, less downforce and more mechanical grip, expect a harder to tame car that moves around more and, therefore, should produce better racing with cars able to follow one another more closely.
Drivers who have tested the Gen3 prototypes report a car more like an old-school Supercar; needing to hustle the car to extract speed from it with more noticeable understeer and oversteer and a greater dependence on mechanical grip versus aerodynamic push.