Tyre sensors a boost for V8 driver safety

Every tyre will be fitted with a pressure sensor from Barbagallo

Every tyre will be fitted with a pressure sensor from Barbagallo

Access to live tyre pressure data will help V8 Supercars drivers avoid accidents brought about by punctures, according to category supplier Dunlop.

V8 Supercars will implement the sensors from the next championship event at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway from May 1-3.

Sourced from British firm Beru f1 Systems, the sensors will provide live data to both the car’s dashboard and corresponding team garage.

V8 Supercars has been working towards introducing such a system for several months, trialling them on cars at the off-season aerodynamic homologation running and at February’s SuperTest.

“The biggest benefit of the system will show when a team picks up a puncture and either the driver sees the alarm or the team gets on the radio and lets them know that there’s a loss of pressure,” Dunlop motorsport manager Kevin Fitzsimons told Speedcafe.com.

“If you look at (Michael) Caruso and (Jamie) Whincup in Adelaide, or even (Fabian) Coulthard at Bathurst a few years ago, it can save you a car in that situation.

“From a safety angle we’re extremely happy with the implementation.”

Drivers, such as Whincup in Adelaide, had previously pressed on with leaking tyres, hoping that an apparent handling imbalance had been simply the result of picking up debris.

Pressure sensors, as well as the still outlawed bleed-off valves, were run on V8 Supercars during the 1990s before being stamped out on cost grounds.

Their reintroduction will greatly assist V8 Supercars’ ability to monitor the 17psi minimum tyre pressure rules that were introduced last October.

The minimum, also introduced on safety grounds, has to date been overseen via random checks by little more than half a dozen V8 Supercars technical staff.

The minimum pressure was also a safety initiative after teams had experimented with extremely low pressures; risking a structural failure while attempting to eek more life from the contact patch.

Having previously been able to take pressures only in pitlane, the data provided by the sensors meanwhile gives teams increased scope to understand the tyre for development purposes.

The move to the sensors comes a year after a Barbagallo meeting peppered by tyre failures on the Walkinshaw Racing and Erebus Motorsport cars.

“I wouldn’t expect to see a repeat of those issues now,” said Fitzsimons of Barbagallo.

“But teams will still need to be careful of the back edge of the Turn 5 kerb as that was razor sharp last year.”

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