Paddles for Camaro, stick for Mustang

Gear shifting has been a flashpoint of controversy with the new Gen3 rules, with a largely undesired move to paddle shift seen as inevitable.

It’s already been confirmed that the new rules will include an Automatic Gear Shift system rather than the existing manual sequential shift.

That opens the door for the electronic sensors to be activated by either a stick or paddles, Supercars having said previously that both will be tested during the prototype phase.

It’s now come to light that the different systems will be split across the two prototypes during initial testing, with the Ford Mustang to run the more traditional stick shift, while the Chevrolet Camaro will use paddles.

Both cars will then sample both systems as prototype testing progresses. 

Triple Eight, which is the GM homologation team and is building the prototype Camaro, has been one of the chief proponents of a move to paddles, on the basis of protecting engines and gearboxes from over-revs.

However the vast majority of current drivers are against the move, fearing it will dilute the art of driving the cars, while fan reaction has also been mostly negative.

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In a video published by the Supercars website last week a number of team bosses had their say on the matter, Jamie Whincup – who will take over as T8 boss next year – reiterating his position in favour of paddles.

“It’s a touchy one,” said the seven-time series champion.

“It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, a switch is going to activate the gearbox, so whether you want to activate the switch via a stick, or a paddle… hey, it’s good having this debate. It’s good that there’s two sides. But I think once we get into it, it won’t really matter.

“I’m tending towards the paddle shift, I like that idea, to simplify it. But I’d be happy to run a stick in the car as well.”

Tickford Racing CEO Tim Edwards said he was happy to let the prototype testing process decide the outcome.

“To be honest I don’t really care either way,” he said. “I’m on the fence and that’s why I don’t really care which way it goes.

“We’ll run the two prototypes, one with each, and further down the track we’ll decide which way we’re going.”

Team 18 owner Charlie Schwerkolt said he wants the stick to stay, but fears the paddles will ultimately get the nod.

“Look, I like the traditional stick,” he said. “I think it’s fabulous for the sport and for TV. So I’m a stick man for sure, I think it would be cool if we could continue that.

“But anyway, we’ll see what happens. I think it’s already done and dusted from what I hear.”

Brad Jones Racing owner Brad Jones was another to support the traditional system: “I think it should have a stick in it, but anyway…”

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