Jamie Whincup has explained why he believes introducing paddle shifting would be the right move for supercars.
Earlier this year it was announced that paddle shift technology could be introduced into the category at the same time as the Gen3 launch.
At the final round of the championship, the Tasmania SuperSprint, drivers were presented with steering wheel prototypes and diagrams showing the placement of the paddle shifters.
While the lion’s share of the drivers Speedcafe.com spoke to are against the move, Whincup is part of a select few who are pro-paddle-shift.
“The car will most likely have an electronic actuator for the transmission. [you] can stick a stick in, that’s basically a big heavy switch. It’s just a switch.
“You can see someone moving a gear stick in a car, but having a big mechanism like this for a switch doesn’t make sense to me.
“Well, I’m a professional paddle-shifter because the 18-year-old boy doesn’t know what a gear lever is. You know what I mean? It makes no sense.
“There are no more manual cars. Anything new and modern and fresh is paddle shift.
“Yes, I have a soft spot for the gear stick, 100 percent, and if it’s just about me and what I want to see, let’s use the gear stick because I know that. But in the interest of the category, you should ride the paddle shift because we have to turn to the 18-24 year olds. And they know that and they can relate to it. “
Supercars has announced that it will evaluate the current sequential shift lever shift alongside the proposed paddle shift when testing the Gen3 prototype, slated for mid-year.
However, category management has not definitely said whether it will make the switch for 2022.
Part of the guesswork that surrounds the paddle shift is not just the mechanism, but the removal of the speed adjustment.
In a tender published by Supercars, reference is made to “accelerator pedal” as a function of the control electrics and electronics system.
Team 18 driver Mark Winterbottom spoke to Speedcafe.com earlier this year about Supercars introducing a stock car-style Brazilian paddle shift that runs without an automatic throttle.
However, Whincup said that would not be possible for supercars with what was suggested for Gen3.
“Well, if it’s an electronic actuator, it has to be an automatic blip,” Whincup said.
“You cannot operate an electronic actuator without an automatic blip. It just doesn’t work. So it will blip automatically, but you can still get the clutch. You can still let the clutch run.
“Well no, there will probably be a changing of the guard. It’s going to be a different way of driving, the Gen3 car over this car. “
Ironically, while most drivers want to maintain the status quo, neither the Ford Mustang nor the Chevrolet Camaro offer a sequential “stick” option.
Ford and Chevrolet are offering their Mustang and Camaro both in a GM-built 10-speed automatic with paddle shift and in a six-speed manual with an H-pattern.
Whincup believes the next generation of fans will resonate more with paddle shift than with the current setup.
“The little kids won’t change gears, they’ll just be on the paddle,” he said.
“I’d love to see the gear stick, but what’s best for the category? If I were to design the car, I would be one hundred percent paddle shifting. It is pretty clear to me.
“But we have to keep going, even though there are a lot of people who have been around for a while talking about the good old days. The sport is no bigger or stronger than what it is right now.
“We have to keep moving forward. We cannot get stuck in the past. “
Whincup tried last week to allay general concerns about Gen3 and to ensure that the project would be 100 percent ready for launch next year.
The star of Red Bull Ampol Racing is traveling to the fourth round of the Repco Supercars Championship at Bend Motorsport Park this weekend and is second in the overall standings, just behind his teammate Shane van Gisbergen.