A test Ford Supercars engine map has shown its worth if results from practice at the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint are anything to go by.
As previously reported by Speedcafe, the 11 Mustangs ran with three different engine maps between them in Practice 1 at Symmons Plains.
They then ran either of a 30ms or 50ms shift cut in Practice 2 on the map which had already been locked in for the weekend's qualifying session and races, which was among the three used in the preceding session.
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The other two maps were the calibration from the previous event of the season at Wanneroo Raceway, and a map which Ford would like to use going forward, but which has not yet been approved for competition by Supercars.
The empirical evidence is striking.
Speedcafe understands that three Mustangs used the test map, and that they so happened to be the fastest three Mustangs in Practice 1.
The next five fastest Mustangs were the five which were using this weekend's engine map, namely Tickford's Cameron Waters in fifth, his team-mate Thomas Randle in 12th, then Grove Racing's David Reynolds in 13th, DJR's Anton De Pasquale in 14th, and Walkinshaw Andretti United's Nick Percat in 16th.
Practice 2 was dominated by Chevrolet Camaros, of which eight made the top 10, interspersed with Randle in fourth and Hazelwood in 10th.
In Qualifying for Race 7, Waters was the only Mustang driver to make the top 10, although he made a reasonable fist of it by claiming third on the grid, and in fact set the fastest lap of the session back in Part 2.
The 2022 championship runner-up would similarly be the only Mustang driver in the top eight come the chequered flag on Race 7 itself, after which he likened his situation to being “in a gunfight with a knife”, although it is worth noting he did claim the fastest lap bonus points.
It is not known who was given which shift cut setting in Practice 2, nor which was used in the subsequent sessions.
However, the Practice 1 results are enlightening, not just because of the blue boxes at the top of the timing screen come session's end.
As detailed above, the test map and Wanneroo map were each deployed at cars from three of the five different Ford teams, and the Symmons Plains map at cars from four distinct teams.
One would thus be inclined to conclude, at least on the balance of probabilities, that the test map made a difference, instead of or in addition to any team set-up philosophy.
Whether or not it is the solution to the Gen3 engine parity dramas remains to be seen, but that seems a distinct possibility.
Qualifying for Race 11 and Qualifying for Race 12 will be held this morning from 09:50 local time/AEST.