V8 Supercars teams will face exclusion from Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 if they flaunt newly introduced regulations mandating minimum tyre pressures.
This weekend marks the first event at which teams must comply with 17 psi minimums in all sessions.
The rule has been introduced in order to stamp out the practice of running extreme pressures which, while aimed at extending the life of the rubber, also risks structural failures.
After consultation with teams, V8 Supercars clarified its policy for monitoring the pressures on the eve of the weekend.
During the race, teams will be required to place the next tyre set they intend to use in a prescribed box marked out in the front half of their garage no more than 10 minutes after each pitstop.
Teams will only be able to check or adjust the pressure of the tyres in the box with the permission of V8 Supercars officials, who can undertake their own measurements at any time.
If a team is found to have breached the 17 psi minimum, the offence will be referred to the stewards.
The penalties set out by V8 Supercars will see breaches of 2 psi or less receive a drive-through penalty, with those greater than 2 psi leading to exclusion.
Teams and drivers approached by Speedcafe.com have been in favour of the ruling, as long as the policing proves sound.
A team of six V8 Supercars technical staff members will perform checks, while volunteer event officials, expected to equate to one per two-car garage, will be on hand to monitor the teams’ activities.
“That has been the problem in the sport sometimes,” Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com of V8 Supercars’ task to police the new regulations.
“It’s making sure that the grey line is as dark black as it can be.
“There’s ways that I’m sure people will try and fudge the system… but if it’s governed properly its a good rule because there’s no ambiguity, it’s all the same for everyone.”
The Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander added that the harshness of the penalties are necessary to ensure compliance.
“It’s pretty heavy but what they are trying to do there is tell everyone don’t run close,” he said.
“If you are close you could teeter either side of the rule then the penalty is huge obviously and I can see what they are trying to do there.
“I don’t know the mechanics of the policing of the rule, but I think that is where a lot of scepticism from the ruling is coming from.”
Introducing the rule at Bathurst will give V8 Supercars an opportunity to test its monitoring process on a weekend where teams are thought largely unlikely to want to push the envelope too far.
The high loadings at Bathurst, combined with the fact that the lower wearing hard tyre is in use, ensures the event does not see the near single-digit pressures experimented with by teams at other venues.
“It’s probably going to make more of a difference at the Gold Coast (the next soft tyre event),” affirmed Red Bull’s Craig Lowndes.
“We were never going to come here and run really low pressures given the high loading we generate around Bathurst.
“I understand why Dunlop want to do it because they don’t want to be seen to have faulty tyres as a result of what we are doing to them.”
In addition to the in-race penalties, those caught 2 psi or less under the minimum will also be penalised in practice (warning) and qualifying (fastest time in session disallowed).
More than 2 psi under in practice will yield a 60 second pitlane penalty, with the same offence bringing about an exclusion from qualifying.
No breaches were recorded during the three practice sessions held on Thursday.