Why the Walkinshaw engine deal is so important to Grove

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Grove Racing enlisted Walkinshaw Racing to support the development of its Ford Mustang engine. Photo: Ross Gibb

Grove Racing team boss Stephen Grove has explained the rationale for bringing in Walkinshaw Racing to support its engine program this year.

The 2022 season marks the Repco Supercars Championship’s first as a solo operation for Grove Racing after acquiring the remainder of the Kelly family’s stake in the Braeside-based team late last year.

Last month, Speedcafe.com revealed that Grove Racing had formed a technical alliance with Walkinshaw Racing.

In the final year of Gen2 regulations, one has to wonder why the team would invest in the outgoing engine platform.

Stranger still, Walkinshaw Racing has long been associated with General Motors products, rather than the Ford-based engine that powers Grove Racing’s pair of Mustangs.

Ultimately it comes down to the teams championship and Grove Racing’s desire to get as far back in the pit lane as possible in time for the advent of Gen3 in 2023 – Grove seeing no problem in previous links with the Clayton-based organization makers.

“For us the absence of Gen3 this year has left us a bit in limbo, so we’re trying to manage the current car and make sure we can get more performance out of it, which we need to do,” said Grove at Speed ​​Cafe. .com.

“We continue to invest heavily in the current Gen2 car. We are aware that we only have 12 laps to go now, so we also need to change our minds on Gen3.

“We try to make that work simultaneously, so we brought in Steve Robertson to help us build our Gen3 cars so we can run two programs at once. One is improving Gen2 this year and at the same time , we can start developing Gen3.

“The most important thing for us is the team championship. We’re not saying we think we can win this, it’s certainly not possible, but what we’re trying to do is get a few more places and get higher on the grid.

“If we put in the time and effort this year to do Gen3 well, we’ll start in a pretty good position next year.”

In a sport of tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a second, researching team engine performance could make a major difference for Grove Racing.

As Grove explained, Walkinshaw Racing has more capacity and ability to help the Supercars team find that time.

“They have the infrastructure to be able to map our engines and put them on dynos and tell us where we’re shorting and where we’re not shorting,” he said.

“They have an engine maintenance program for us.

“They are very good at the way they build their engines and the way they maintain them and the infrastructure they have.

“It’s just trying to get a little more engine performance, trying to get a little more mapping, trying to look at the fuel consumption.

“We called on their resources to help us do that this year.”

During the transition from partial to full ownership, Grove had indicated that a technical relationship with the Kelly family would remain with the engine department.

That is no longer the case, although Grove has said he is leaning on Todd Kelly, having led the team’s Ford Mustang engine development during the 2019/20 off-season.

“Todd still has a few comments to help us out,” Grove said.

“He is a good sounding board for me. I’m still talking to Todd and we’re still working on a lot of issues, but it’s just about having that infrastructure.

“Walkinshaw Racing, which is a different entity from Walkinshaw Andretti United, their pedigree in engine building is second to none.

“We’re just asking them to help us develop the engine further. Todd did a terrific job of getting the engine to where it is, but now it’s tenths of a second that we’re looking for.


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