V8 teams wait on soft tyre rescue package
V8 Supercars teams continue to wait on details of a plan to save the category’s Super Sprint race format through the introduction of more soft tyres.
As reported last Friday, it is understood that V8 Supercars will inject soft tyres into the Saturday races at several of the remaining meetings after a succession of dull 60km sprints with the hard rubber.
The move is the second part of the category’s tyre rescue plan following last week’s announcement that teams will be given an extra set of hard Friday practice tyres at six remaining events.
V8 Supercars continues to remain silent on efforts to increase the soft tyre allocation while its rule-making Commission sorts the final details of how and when they will be rolled out.
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That left the Winton garages abuzz with speculation over the weekend as teams and drivers face unprecedented mid-season uncertainty over formats.
Moving from two 60km heats to a single 120km race with a pitstop to change between the tyre compounds had last week been tipped as the most likely revision.
That idea is now understood to have been officially quashed, with driver James Courtney musing publicly that category contracts – which specify total races for the season – have proven difficult to amend.
“There are contracts and deals in place with television and promoters and sponsors,” the driver told media at Winton. “Contractually we’re obliged to continue to do this (60km races).”
The common consensus at Winton was that compulsory pitstops to change tyre compounds will instead be added to the two short Saturday races.
Logic suggests that the remaining Super Sprint events at Hidden Valley, Queensland Raceway, Sydney Motorsport Park and Pukekohe will be the beneficiaries of additional soft tyres.
Phillip Island will host the final Super Sprint event in late November, but has not traditionally been deemed suitable for the softer compound due to the high loadings resulting from its sweeping corners.
While current uncertainty over the situation has caused some angst, few can argue that a change isn’t needed.
Saturday’s opening Winton race went without a single overtaking move inside the top 16 after the end of the opening lap.
The same could be said of the top 12 after lap two in the second heat, before Sunday’s longer, mixed tyre race breathed life into the event.