Usually when a driver wins a V8 Supercar race in a dominant performance by over 10 seconds, we would all look at one another and say it was a boring race.
But Race 10 at Queensland Raceway on Sunday – and indeed Race 9 on Saturday – was far from it. And why? It’s all in the rubber …
The use of the Dunlop Sprint tyre simply made the racing just that on the weekend – racing.
Drivers have confidence in the softer tyre to launch passing moves. They have to drive with their brain as well as their right foot and that creates differing speeds in cars at different times in the race. Which is exactly what it is there to create.
This is not an attack on the control tyre either. It’s a brilliant compromise tyre to deal with the vast spectrum of temperatures, loadings and track surfaces over the course of a full season of racing.
But now there are calls to take things a step further. We will again race on the sprints for the full weekend at Winton before we mix control and sprint for Hidden Valley, Sandown and Symmons Plains. Just as was the case last year, each car will have a single set of sprints to use in the races; however their choice is completely limited to the longer 200-kilometre Sunday race.
That still leaves the door open for some different winners and potential upsets, however it’s an improvement on the potential ‘lottery’ draw of a late Safety Car last year that could launch a driver to a podium finish when otherwise perhaps they would not have achieved that result.
Jason Bright has been vocal of making those three events I mentioned become solely Sprint tyre weekends like Queensland Raceway and Winton. I understand his logic because the racing on the weekend was really good.
The following is what he said in the team’s press release last night:
“There’s absolutely no need to throw the hard tyre in as well to generate that passing,” Bright said.
“I think you would go to this soft-tyre-only format at all the other sprint rounds for sure. Whether the organisers are prepared to change that I don’t know. We’ll have to wait for the fans to say what they thought but I’m sure it’s much better than it’s been for ages. It certainly seemed to me there was a lot more passing.
“The only time there’s more passing (otherwise) is when the hard tyre is mixed in, but then the passing isn’t genuine. The guy on hards just concedes because the difference is too great, whereas when it’s only softs you are genuinely racing for position; it works much better.”
I’m not generally one for changing the rules mid-season but I agree with Brighty. At the core of this is entertainment value and I, among many, was entertained by what I saw in the two races on the weekend.
So limit the lads to sprint tyres for those three other events and I reckon we will see racing just as entertaining.
Oh and a quick question that rolled in during the week.
My colleague from Network Ten, Tim Hodges asked me what I thought of double-file restarts, just as in NASCAR.
I hadn’t thought about it in V8 Supercars, but the restart on Sunday with Whincup struggling with an engine problem that compacted the field and had them crawling all over one another made me think the last time I saw an exciting restart like that.
And the answer is … a long, long while!
So perhaps the double-file restart is one to look into as well. It seems to have worked wonders in NASCAR. I’m all up for taking a look at what other series are doing and seeing if there’s room in V8 Supercars for any other ideas that could improve the overall racing and entertainment element without taking away from the true sporting contest.