Landmark tyre test awaits Supercars teams
The full field of Supercars teams will try-out the landmark 2017 specification Dunlop rubber at Sydney Motorsport Park today.
It will be the first time the grid will be able to fully evaluate the performance of the new construction Dunlop soft and super-soft rubber in real-world conditions.
Dunlop has changed the method of construction but retained the same compound for the tyres with the company moving to a different mould that now sees a transition from the tread to the sidewall from a rounded to a squarer shape.
While the tyres grew from 17 to 18-inch with the introduction of the Car of the Future in 2013, the construction change is the first time the tyres have been technically modified since Dunlop was first awarded the contract in 2002.
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The rules allow teams to buy a maximum of four sets of soft and four sets of super-soft tyres toward their test allocation with no restrictions on how the tyres can be used.
It is generally accepted that some teams will begin the day running 2016-specification tyres before tasking through the new rubber.
“This is a landmark in Supercars. We’ve had the Dunlop control tyre since 2002 and its been a great tyre,” Supercars technical director David Stuart said.
“Dunlop has been fantastic in working with Supercars in the development of this new tyre.
“We’re quietly hopeful it will deliver the goods and durability for the competitors and provide good entertainment for the fans.”
As part of the development phase, Stuart was part of a delegation who travelled to the US earlier this year where comprehensive analysis was carried out.
Over two days at the Buffalo, New York state, laboratory of independent engineering firm, Calspan, analysis was performed on a specific machine.
Data and modelling was performed on the 2017 soft and super-soft tyres and also the hard compound tyre from 2016.
“And all that information is now with the teams,” Stuart said.
“Unlike past years where we went from Bridgestone to Dunlop and there was very limited tyre data, the teams have a plethora of tyre data now.
“They can pick the minute changes up. They can see how that’s going to effect the set-up of their car and it may change how they approach the set-up of their car to maximise the grip of the tyre.
“Teams will need to adjust to maximise the performance of the tyre.
“The tyre itself works in an optimum window. The teams now have the data to understand what that window is.
“Effectively it gives them more tools to hone in on their car set-up.”
As opposed to past pre-season test days where Sydney Motorsport Park has doubled as the Supercars season launch, today will be exclusively a team’s test day.
The test day came about when team members on the Supercars Commission sought to schedule one day at a neutral venue where all teams can test the new tyres.