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All change!

Converting an FG X Falcon into a Mustang is the next step in Milwaukee Racing’s race to the top of the podium in the upcoming Supercars Championship. By Rachel Smith

Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s a fact that you want the newest, most up-to-date bit of kit in order to perform at your optimum. And that’s never truer when it comes to car racing. Which is why Phil Munday, team owner of Australian motor racing team Milwaukee Racing, is excited about Ford’s decision to convert their FG X Falcons into Mustangs for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2019. “We’re doing it because the Ford’s body shape is 11 years old, and the new Mustang shape is more aerodynamic and it’ll have up-todate specifications with the cars of the future now—rather than trying to get the aero sorted on an older car,” explains Munday

THE CONVERSION PROCESS

Converting one model to another involves essentially skinning the chassis—a fairly straightforward process for someone with Munday’s extensive panel industry experience. “The roll cage can’t be changed, so every supercar has the same chassis and the skin that goes over the top of that is depicted by the model that they’re racing,” he explains. “So in converting to a Mustang, we take the FG X skin off our current car and all of the inner steel frame and change those over to Mustang’s inner frame—and then the skin is mounted on the same frame. That is then welded to the chassis.” One big difference in the conversion is going from a four-door to a twodoor— which is actually more ideal, says Munday. “A two-door on the roll cage inside the chassis fits better and actually looks more symmetrical,” he says. The main part of the process takes a couple of days, then it’s a matter of fitting the panels onto the new welded parts of the chassis. “That’ll take another three to four days to set up and make sure all the gaps are tight,” says Munday, “then you take it all off again to paint it, and then it’s the final suit-up. There’ll be no change to the engine. It’ll be standard Ford V8 on the new Mustang.” There’s also support on offer from Tickford Racing, with whom Milwaukee Racing have an engine lease deal. “Tickford supply the engine so I don’t have to build my own,” says Munday. “And the engineering support, which is all the data you need to work out what the set-up needs to be on the car, is also something they supply to us.”

FOLLOWING THE RULES

There are a range of motorsport safety rules and regulations set down by Supercars that all team owners abide by when converting the cars, before they can be certified to race. “Supercars is really strict on the homologation of the car, which can be quite a lot of work,” explains “Essentially, this is making sure that the car fits the rule book and is signed off. The homologation is set and given out to the team owner and managers and those fitting out the car. For instance, with the right hand front door, we went to a carbon fibre door which has to have a bulletproof rated skin on the outside. So if we were to have a heavy impact in that door, it would sustain and wouldn’t splinter and shatter into the driver.”

GREAT FOR RACING, GREAT FOR FANS

It’s no surprise that the emergence of the Mustang for next year’s Supercars is being touted as a bit of a landmark moment for the sport. “Ford had moved away from the sport and to see them come back in is just fantastic,” says Munday. “It’s given the sport a new lease on life and is a great thing for Ford fans, too.”
Fans who like what Milwaukee Racing do with the car have the opportunity to go out and buy that super suited-up, V8 manual Mustang themselves from a dealer, he adds. “That’s exciting, that our supporters get the opportunity to go and touch and feel a car that’s identical to what we race. It’s a beautiful car.” And given Holden is usually top of the pops on the podium, is Munday optimistic that the Mustang mightchange all that? “We’d hope so,” he says. “The Holden Commodore this year, it’s a completely new aero kit and you can certainly see the benefits. In terms of the Falcon’s body shape, well, the aero has come a long way in 11 years. “And going into a Mustang, we’ve got a brand new set of aero tests that’ll happen. So that car, a completely different shape; it’s quite amazing the difference in how it cuts through the air and the difference it makes to its speed.” What Munday is hoping for is more of a level playing field. “Nissans have got a fabulous aero package, as do the Commodores and now we’ll have that in the Mustang. Of course, it also comes down to the driver skill and the skill of your pit crew and how we manage what we do there, too.”

WHO’LL DRIVE THE MUSTANG?

Milwaukee Racing’s two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Will Davison will be in the hot seat of the new Mustang along with his brother Alex, come 2019—something Munday can’t wait to see given the team’s great start in the 2018 Supercars Championships. “Will is with me for three years; this is his first year so I have two more years left with him til the end of the season. I think the two of them pair up so well and I love the fact that they’re brothers and have history in some of their events. I’d love to see them win a Bathurst or Enduro race next year or the year after in 2020!”

 

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