Drivers frustrated by ‘inconsistent’ kerb sensors
Drivers have expressed frustration with the electronic kerb sensors at Surfers Paradise following a change to the tyre bundles ahead of final practice.
The sensors on the inside of the key apexes at the Turn 1/2 and 6/7/8/9/10 chicanes are used in conjunction with the kerbing and tyre bundles to regulate kerb hopping.
Deployed with varying degrees of success for several seasons, drivers have grown increasingly frustrated by a perceived lack of consistency in the triggering of the sensors.
According to the day’s fastest man, Shane van Gisbergen, the issue was heightened in Practice 3 by a pre-session decision by officials to drag the tyre bundles in from the apexes.
“They pulled the bundles back off the kerbs which opened it up,” explained the Supercars Championship leader.
“We were so much faster through there which is not a nice feeling because it’s pretty dangerous but you’ve got to do it (use more kerb).
“Everyone else goes faster so you’ve got to step it up as well.
“It’s just hard (when the bundles are moved back) because you don’t know where the limit (of the sensor) is…. the sensitivity seems to change.
“In the first session there were two or three (strikes) and then in the co-driver session it was stupid (with the amount of strikes).
“You could see those guys were hardly taking as much kerb as we were.
‘They play around with it (the sensitivity) a lot somehow and it’s always different when we go out.
“For me the tyre bundle with the step (two levels of height) is self regulating enough.”
Today’s second fastest driver, Scott McLaughlin, saw his hopes of victory on the Gold Coast disappear last year due to co-driver Alex Premat’s over-exuberance across the kerbing.
Continual strikes of the tyre bundles broke the front bar of the #33 Volvo, forcing the Frenchman – who is this year paired with Van Gisbergen – to pit for repairs.
McLaughlin says he’d prefer to lose a race because of a damaged car than due to a penalty for triggering the sensors.
“It’s very hard to know where the hop is and where it’s not,” he told Speedcafe.com of the sensors.
“There’s laps where I’m clipping it more than on laps where I’ve triggered it and I’m not getting picked up.
“If they pulled the bundles back to where they were (before Practice 3) it’s self regulating.
“You can either smack the tyre bundle every lap and whack the front bar off it and lose the race, or just go around them.
“It’s stupid why they even play with it. It’s just ridiculous.”
The way the kerbing will be policed for the remainder of the weekend is set to be debated in the post-practice drivers’ briefing.
Hosted by Driving Standards Observer Jason Bargwanna, the briefing is also expected to feature discussion on the redress rules that have been a hot topic since Bathurst.
McLaughlin, who was at the centre of the Bathurst redress controversy, expects that drivers will put on a largely united front at the briefing.
“There’s only so much we can put across to make it better, but they (the officials) the ones who have to make the changes,” he said.
“I’d say 90 to 95 percent of the drivers think the redress should be gone, but nothing changes.
“As a driving group we certainly feel like there are grey areas that need to be sorted in terms of when you redress and when you don’t.”