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Supercars driver: throw paddle shift in the trash can

Shane van Gisbergen switches to Sandown. Image: Fox Sports

According to all three podium finishers in the last race of the Repco Supercars Championship, the paddle shift should be thrown in the trash.

With the upcoming shift of the category to the Gen3 rule set next year, the shifter, which has been a sequential shifter since the H-Patterns phased out in 2008, could be replaced with paddles behind the steering wheel.

Shane van Gisbergen, the winner of the Bathurst 1000 2020 and Supercars Champion 2016, has spoken out particularly loudly against this concept.

Shortly after a fifth win in so many races in 2021, the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver fired another barb on the paddle shift.

“Throwing the paddle-shift in the trash can” was his straightforward answer to what the entertaining races at Sandown said for what should be included in Gen3.

Sitting on either side of the New Zealander at the press conference, Brodie Kostecki and David Reynolds made it a consensus among the podium finishers.

The latter said, “Yes, one hundred percent,” while the former said, “I agree.”

Van Gisbergen’s comment completes a number of anti-paddle-shift broadsides from his three official Supercars outings through 2021.

The 31-year-old gave the big downforce reduction slated for Gen3 a big tick after he needed a pit strategy to win race two on Mount Panorama 500.

At the post-race press conference, however, he couldn’t resist digging up the paddle layer.

“I think the next year is exciting because the Gen3 has no aero and all of these things except paddle shift. That sucks, ”said van Gisbergen.

van Gisbergen and engineer David Cauchi

Earlier this month, during the pre-season testing at Queensland Raceway, he was more expansive about what he finds uncomfortable about potential Gen3 developments.

One of these that could be introduced in conjunction with the paddle shift is an automated throttle that would eliminate the heel and toe.

Van Gisbergen, who had just won the New Zealand Grand Prix that is part of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, couldn’t hide his excitement for driving a supercar again when he spoke to Speedcafe.com about the post-test closing video.

“These cars are going out this morning and they are great,” he exclaimed.

“The first time you put your foot flat, you just feel the force and it moves, you shift properly and I just hope you don’t paddle shift next year because paddle shift sucks.

“As we have to drive the cars properly, brake, you’re on the clutch … these cars are fantastic.”

Van Gisbergen isn’t the only current or former Supercars driver to have directly criticized the paddle shift and / or the automated throttle.

Bathurst 1000 winner Paul Morris told Speedcafe.com that it would be “stupid” to eliminate the heel and toe.

He then went to Norwell Motorplex, where he conducts driver training to demonstrate how the best supercars drivers manipulate clutch release to lock the rear wheels and improve vehicle rotation.

Ironically, given the prospect of an automated slip-up, the trick is threatened, although this helps encourage passing and passing is generally viewed as deficient in the current generation of supercars.

Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat stated in an interview published by Fox Sports in mid-January that “the minute you go paddling … is likely to kill my love for supercars”.

Another current race winner, who didn’t want to be named, told Speedcafe.com in the same month: “I think that heel-toe is unique in the world these days.

“Overseas a lot of just really old school drivers remember those days, but I think it makes it pretty cool here to see foot pedal shots on board and things like that. It is a very unique thing to learn. “

Dean Fiore shuts down in Bathurst in 2019; Note the vortex in his right foot that puts him in contact with the accelerator pedal. Image: Fox Sports

Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom does not fall into the anti-paddle shift brigade because in principle he is not that different from a sequential shifter.

However, he also believes that automated blip shouldn’t become a feature of supercars, and says it is one of three driver aids “that we probably need to make sure we never use”.

Speedcafe.com readers seem to agree with this sentiment. 85.77% (3961) of the 4618 respondents to a Pirtek survey agreed with “Yes” to the question: “Should heels and toes still be a driving requirement in the Gen3 super sports car? ? ‘

Van Gisbergen’s latest comment followed a positive assessment of the competition, which was held in Sandown throughout the weekend.

When asked to comment, however, he seemed to reiterate the importance of reducing the aerodynamic disturbance that modern supercars cause with the introduction of Gen3.

“In this race [Race 4] with Chaz [Mostert]I laughed and gave him the thumbs up, and under the Safety Car I went next to him and gave him the thumbs up, ”recalled # 97.

“I had a great time and everyone is driving hard but respectfully at the moment.

“A few years ago people just ran you far off the track and now I think the race is really good.

“It’s good on a track like this where you don’t have a lot of fast corners. You can actually fight people so I enjoyed it. “

The 2021 Supercars Championship will continue in Symmons Plains, where the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint will take place from April 10th to 11th.

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