McLaughlin says tyres had ‘too much influence’
Monday 20th July, 2020 - 4:45pm
Scott McLaughlin says there were “angry folk up and down pit lane” after tyre talk dominated last weekend’s second Sydney SuperSprint.
The paddock was divided after Round 4 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, which saw soft and hard compound tyres used at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Teams were also restricted on allocation, only given two sets of soft tyres and three sets of hard tyres for qualifying, a potential Top 15 Shootout berth, and the three 32-lap races.
Penrite Racing boss Barry Ryan labelled the three-race weekend “fake racing” and stressed that Supercars needed to get back to “hard core” race formats.
In the latest Scott’s Corner blog by Grove Racing, McLaughlin said the tyre allocation had too great an impact on the results.
“I don’t want to be all negative Nelly – but you only had to see the angry folk up and down pit lane last night to know plenty were upset,” wrote McLaughlin.
“The buzzword was tyres – we spoke about them WAY too long all weekend.
“I totally understand the limit on tyres being brought into the sport, but in my view tyres had too much of an influence on the on-track action.
“Hard compound tyres were introduced to the mix this past weekend – and we had to juggle three sets of hards and two sets of softs for the duration of the event.
“There was no way you could contend in all three races – and we were shot ducks for race three (Race 12) when we had nothing to play with.
“We are all competitive guys and we don’t want to run around for 14th – and there were plenty in the same boat – which is why there were so many disappointed faces after the weekend.”
McLaughlin reaffirmed his belief that those who make it into the Top 10 Shootout or Top 15 Shootout as it was in Sydney should all run on the same compound of tyre.
Three drivers who made it into the shootout on soft tyres chose to run a set of hard tyres, all qualifying 13th through to 15th.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver said “it wasn’t Supercars at its very best” in the shootout.
“No one wants to see some in the Shootout have a crack, and some save their tyres – and be three seconds off the pace,” he said.
“I’m not sure if we want races where the sport’s biggest teams can’t even contend because their tyre bank is cooked.”
As it stands, Supercars will use a mix of soft and hard compound tyres at Hidden Valley Raceway, Sandown International Motor Raceway, Symmons Plains Raceway, and the season-ender at Sydney Motorsport Park.
McLaughlin conceded Supercars is doing the right thing by trialling new ideas in an effort to entertain. However, he hoped the championship would stick with one compound.
“So I like the fact the sport is trying new things,” said McLaughlin.
“They are willing to have a crack at just about anything right now to ensure the sport continues in 2020 – but if it was my call, I’d be supporting sticking to one compound from now on.”
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returns with back-to-back rounds at Hidden Valley Raceway on August 8-9 and 15-16.