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Supercars drivers support new Gen3 steering wheel

Will Brown holds the prototype of the split-grip steering wheel

Several drivers have supported the introduction of a controlled, split-grip steering wheel that Supercars has unveiled in recent days.

As part of a consultation process with Supercars, drivers of the Tasmania SuperSprint were shown three prototypes.

One of the steering wheels is very similar to the current 3D printed GT-style steering wheel used by Jamie Whincup of Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The other two wheels are identical in shape and size, with one made entirely of suede while the other features split suede and a non-slip handle.

All three steering wheels were presented without buttons; However, it is expected that riders will have another chance to test a full bike at future events if the consultation continues.

Speedcafe.com assumes that Max Papis Innovations (MPI) was selected as the only steering wheel supplier in the category.

Max Papis Innovations was founded in 2009 by the former IndyCar driver and produces steering wheels for all levels of motorsport.

So far, the Supercars teams have had the flexibility to choose their respective steering wheel suppliers.

Steering wheels are becoming a controlled component under Gen3.

While the split-grip option would be a novelty for the lion’s share of the grid, it has already been used at Dick Johnson Racing this year (see image below).

Dick Johnson Racing currently uses a Max Papis Innovations steering wheel

Although the steering wheel made by Max Papis has already done some service in the championship, the Supercars version may have an alternative button layout.

Speedcafe.com spoke to several Supercars drivers at the Tasmania SuperSprint, with the majority keen to continue using a touring car-style wheel, particularly the split-grip setup.

“We’re not a formula car, so I think it’s silly to have the open-top Formula 1 wannabe car,” said James Courtney, Tickford Racing driver.

“We don’t even want paddle shifting, let alone this cycling style. We’re a category of touring cars so we should have something that is similar to what the road cars have.

“Yeah, I’m a fan of this full bike for this category with the amount of lock we use, especially here [at Symmons Plains].

“It’s super comfortable. It’s good to bring in and explore these new and innovative parts and make them more ergonomically comfortable for everyone. “

Team Sydney driver Fabian Coulthard agreed with Courtney’s opinion.

“I prefer to keep something similar to what we have. It’s proven, ”he said.

“We could go for a GT bike and waste more money. But I think the whole thing about Gen3 is trying to cut costs. Keep it simple. “

Will Brown (left) and Brodie Kostecki try out the steering wheel prototypes

Erebus Motorsport drivers Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki both supported the split-grip setup.

“There are two that are pretty much the same, just with different grips, and I think they’re the right ones,” Brown said.

“Then the second one looks like a GT bike that I’m not interested in. It’ll have paddles if it’s a GT bike I don’t like.

“It’s a very similar steering wheel to DJR,” he said of the split-grip steering wheel.

“The suede wears out pretty quickly. In any case, the one with the handle felt pretty good. You wouldn’t know until you did a test day, but it felt pretty good.

“That’s what we like, me and Brodie.”

In recent years, Whincup has bucked the trend of running a traditional D-shaped steering wheel.

Triple Eight Race Engineering built the seven-time champion a bespoke steering wheel loosely based on what can be seen in the McLaren 650S GT3.

Whincup acknowledged that his GT-style bike would not be everyone’s favorite and expected the more traditional bike to be the number one choice among most.

“My steering wheel probably won’t fit most of the field,” Whincup said.

“It’s fantastic for me, but probably not a good thing for everyone.

“We’re going to go to something more traditional, something without a gap. If you have a moment, don’t get some fresh air.

“This is one of many controlled parts, which will lower the cost of the car and make it more competitive to just populate the network and give out those licenses [Racing Entitlements Contracts] more valuable. That makes sense as a generic bike for everyone. “

Kelly Grove Racing driver David Reynolds was initially confused when Supercars showed him the prototypes.

“To be honest, my first impressions were, ‘What is this about? ‘And then they explained it to me and I thought,’ That’s not a bad idea, ‘he said.

“It cuts costs when people do their own things, so they do it [Supercars] Buy it as a collective and get a better price. It’s good.”

Several drivers said the full-suede steering wheels used by most supercars tend to wear out and become slippery.

As a result, some teams wrap their steering wheels with tennis racket handles.

“They wear out very quickly with the suede wheel,” added Reynolds.

“In the end, the only thing you have to replace is the outer steering wheel. Going to this softer material could take longer. “

Reynolds said he has no preference for the different wheel styles and is more concerned about CAD drawings showing the wheels with paddle switch placement.

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as they are the same,” Reynolds said.

“The worst part was that they had little drawings of gags, little paddle shift things. Then we talked a little bit about it. “

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