Will Davison says Dick Johnson Racing has no advantage over its fellow Ford squads ahead of the first season of Gen3 Supercars despite its homologation team status.
A total of 11 Mustangs from five teams will be on the grid on a regular basis in the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, which marks the start of a new technical era for the category.
As was the case for the now superseded Gen2 Mustang and ZB Commodore, DJR and Triple Eight Race Engineering have been charged with homologation duties for the Gen3 Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro respectively.
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While Ford team owner Stephen Grove has suggested that DJR and Triple Eight will thus have some sort of edge in the early part of the season, Davison claims that is not the case.
“I would say all the Ford teams have equally been involved [in development of Gen3],” said the two-time Repco Bathurst 1000 winner.
“I certainly drove the car a lot less than a lot of other drivers [and] all the engineers were heavily involved, so it's definitely been a group effort and I don't think we've had an advantage or have any extra pressure.”
Davison is about to start his 20th season, full- or part-time, in the Supercars Championship.
Over the journey, he has driven Project Blueprint- (VY Commodore, BA Falcon, BF Falcon, FG Falcon), Car of the Future- (FG Falcon, Mercedes E63 AMG, VF Commodore, FGX Falcon), and Gen2-spec (S550 Mustang) race cars, as well as the pre-Blueprint AU Falcon in the Super2 Series.
The 40-year-old says he needs to ‘unlearn' some driving traits for the new breed of Supercar.
“We sort of nearly need to unlearn a lot of the past,” remarked Davison.
“There are certainly carryover principles, but we have such a different tool here, not only aerodynamically but mechanically. We sort of need to re-learn a lot of things.
“Obviously, we need to understand the car, so we know when we go to all these range of circuits coming ahead, we've got a bit of an idea as to what does what, but ultimately we need to be fast and we need to know what characteristics in the car we're looking for to go fast.
“It's going to be the story of the year – I think everyone's going to learn as the year goes on – but obviously we just want to make sure we get through the first round in reasonable condition.”
Davison and team-mate Anton De Pasquale have just completed their final pre-season test day at Queensland Raceway, where the former shared his #17 Mustang with his newly confirmed enduro co-driver, brother Alex Davison.
Car #17 finished the day with burn marks around its exhaust due to a large flame-up at around 12:45 local time, after which it was pitted immediately and spent half an hour to an hour in the garage before being dispatched again.
DJR declined to comment on the matter, but informed figures have suggested that the drama would likely have been caused by engine mapping and/or excess fuel.
Private testing is taking place today at Winton, where Tickford Racing's Declan Fraser has made his comeback after a bout of tonsillitis forced him out of the official test at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Tickford (Cars #5, #56) is joined at the rural Victorian circuit by Walkinshaw Andretti United, Team 18, and Grove Racing, plus a handful of Super2 entries.