Despite some two years of notice of the technical changes taking place, admittedly with the process plagued by indecision and multiple design changes, only ONE team had a completed Gen3 specification Supercar ready for the first of several scheduled pre-season test days.
It was the Melbourne-based Blanchard Racing Team (BRT), one of the smallest single-car teams in the championship, that had its Gen3 Ford Mustang chassis BRT001 completed and running for a full day of testing at Victoria’s Winton Raceway on February 1.
In a fitting tribute to this family-owned team, BRT Co-Principal and endurance race codriver Tim Blanchard drove the first ever Gen3 Supercar laps at Winton. He then handed the wheel over to new 2023 season BRT driver Todd Hazelwood for the rest of the day’s shakedown and testing program.
Completely built in-house at the BRT workshop, the final Gen3 Supercar product sets the scene for the latest generation Supercars rule set, which will see Ford Mustangs line up against Chevrolet Camaros for the first time in the modern era of Australian Touring Car racing.
For Blanchard Racing Team Co-Principal John Blanchard, the opportunity to be the first to complete a car to the new regulations was a source of great pride.
“The effort that the entire crew have put into the build of this new Gen3 Mustang is incredible; it is a tribute to the flexibility of a single-car operation,” John Blanchard said.
“The build of the new Gen 3 car started back in September last year, when we started planning and preparing our resources in anticipation. We significantly increased our manufacturing capabilities, minimised outside commitments, picked up parts to save time on freight no matter where in the country they were, and built as many components in-house as possible to minimise reliance on third parties, and just worked hard and long hours.
“I am very proud of everyone in our business and team for what they have achieved to get this car on track by the first of February — it has been a real team effort,” he concluded.
The team’s new driver for the inaugural Gen3 Supercar season couldn’t be happier with his new steed.
“The team here at BRT have done a superb job with the build of this brand new Mustang.
“They have aimed for perfection in every aspect, and when you look closely at the car, you can truly see the attention to detail. It was great to drive and for a first time shakedown all went extremely well,” Todd Hazelwood said.
Supercars CEO Shane Howard was also impressed, particularly as the BRT Mustang was the first and only Gen3 Supercar completed in time for the first of several scheduled pre-season test days.
“We commend Tim Blanchard and his team for their efforts to get to this point and begin the next phase of their Gen3 journey,” Mr Howard said.
“Gen3 is the biggest change in the history of our sport, and to see the first of 25 Supercars on track, unveiled in its racing colours, was an exciting moment.
“We acknowledge the incredible amount of work by team members, manufacturers, engineers and the technical experts involved in this project, who have worked long hours over the Christmas period and throughout summer to bring their teams to this point.”
Find out more about seeing the new Gen3 Supercars in action during the 2023 season at supercars.com.au.