The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship faces a substantial unknown element in 2017.
Dunlop has changed the construction of its two tyre compounds for the first time since the company was awarded the control tyre contract in 2002.
While the compounds have been altered by name only to Super Soft and Soft, the latter remains very much a hard compound.
Key to the construction change is that the 2017 Supercars tyres are made from a completely different mould to the previous tyre.
While the now outdated tyre was more rounded in transitioning from the tread or contact patch to the sidewall, the new construction is much squarer.
In switching to Car of the Future-spec in 2013, the series also saw the tyre size move from 17-inch to 18-inch, however the construction remained unchanged making the 2017 tyre a genuine plunge into the unknown.
With the advent of COTF in 2013, Supercars also welcomed an independent rear-end, replacing the live rear axle.
So while the cars have evolved, the tyres have remained a constant up until this season.
While it is widely accepted that the bigger teams should adapt to the new tyre more quickly, there remains a legitimate question mark over whether the balance of power will shift.
Already armed with loads of data from Supercars’ extensive testing with the new construction at the independent US firm Calspan earlier this year, teams are pouring a lot of resources and energy into tyre development.
Is the new 2017 Dunlop tyre construction enough to shake up the grid?
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