Supercars Mustang won't follow Holden customer path

Ford's Supercars homologation teams Tickford Racing and DJR Team Penske say they won't take the same approach to customer sales with the Mustang as Holden has with the ZB Commodore.

Supercars Mustang won't follow Holden customer path
Ford Mustang livery
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford
Ford Mustang GT
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Fabian Coulthard, DJR Team Penske Ford
Chaz Mostert, Tickford Racing Ford
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford
Ford Mustang GT
Xfinity Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang GT4
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Chaz Mostert, Tickford Racing Ford
Mark Winterbottom, Tickford Racing Ford

It was confirmed yesterday that Tickford and DJR Team Penske will join forces with Ford Performance in Australia and the US to develop and homologate a Mustang to be used in Supercars next season.

It will become the second all-new Supercar homologated in as many years, following the ZB Holden Commodore.

Both teams are set to take an equal share of the workload in the homologation process, although DJR Team Penske is now the official primary homologator for Ford products, after Tickford headed up the FG-X Falcon. 

However, the Mustang isn't set to follow the same retail model as the ZB Commodore, which has its parts supply controlled by homologator Triple Eight Race Engineering.

As the factory Holden team, T8 undertook all of the development and manufacturing of the new Commodore itself, before selling the parts to the other Holden squads – a system that came under fire recently from McLaren boss and Walkinshaw Andretti United part-owner Zak Brown.

Unlike the Holden, the expense of the Mustang development will be shared between the two teams and Ford, which eases the pressure to recoup costs through parts.

"It's more like what we did with the FG-X. We designed the panels, made our moulds off them, then we sent the patterns on a road trip to Queensland," Tickford team boss Tim Edwards told Motorsport.com.

"Whoever wanted the patterns made their own moulds off them, and then knock yourself out."

Tickford part-owner Rod Nash said the system that will be in place for the Mustang is centered around idea of cost-cutting.

"The tooling will be done, the moulds will be made, and it will be open," he explained.

"The core understanding within Supercars is to continue to be more cost effective.

"We're not going to go anywhere near the path we've experienced just recently from our competitors. We'll be building everything for ourselves, but if anybody's out there in the market, we'll assist in any way.

"It's not a money grab, that's for sure."

Edwards confirmed that the existing Ford customer teams would be able to re-skin their current chassis, which he thinks should prompt 23Red Racing and Matt Stone Racing to make the switch.

Should both single-car outfits do so, it would make for eight Mustangs on the grid next year.

"You can still re-skin if you like. The core structure, which is really the rollcage, none of that changes," he said. "It's only the intersection between it and the sheet metal. It would be very similar to what some of the Holden teams did to re-skin their cars [with the ZB].

"I don't think it will take much encouragement for 23Red and MSR to come across.

"As for any other teams, that's not even being discussed at this point in time. Our focus is on our customer [23Red Racing], and likewise with MSR and Penske."

Nash and DJR Team Penske boss Ryan Story both agreed that the initial focus would be supplying the eight entries currently running Ford hardware on the grid before actively exploring the idea of expanding the Ford presence on the grid.

"We're occupying one third of the grid already, and we'll update what we do with a pretty awesome vehicle. That'll no doubt attract enquiry [from other customers]," said Nash.

"But I think eight is a fair target for us to get built and out on the track for next year. And again, our focus is on doing it properly, not just rolling out cars. That's the Ford standard. They're coming into it to win."

"Our focus at the moment is Tickford and DJR Team Penske," added Story." The reality is that Tickford has its customer programme, that will continue as it is today, and we've sold cars in the past and there's no reason why that wouldn't continue.

"So we don't see any change to normal operations in that regard."

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