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Coulthard: Supercars can take tyre learnings from F1

Simon Chapman

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Sunday 20th September, 2020 - 6:00am

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Fabian Coulthard

Fabian Coulthard says Supercars can learn from its own past as well as the current state of Formula 1 to develop future tyre compounds.

The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver has long been an advocate for softer compound tyres in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

In what is his 200th round in the championship, Coulthard claimed a come from behind in Race 25 at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Coulthard qualified fifth, benefitted from the Lap 1 drama between Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup, and went on to pass a struggling Shane van Gisbergen late in the piece to win.

The 38-year-old said Supercars could look at Formula 1-style compounds or even what has worked for the touring car championship in the past.

There are currently five compounds of tyre used in Formula 1, racing from C1 (softest) to C5 (hardest) alongside full wet and intermediate tyres.

“The softer the better,” said Coulthard of the current soft tyre compound.

“We had a real good soft tyre back in 2009. It was good for a lap and then you were managing it from then on in.

“So I’m all about it, soft tyres. Let us race, let us race hard and look after the tyres. That’s the big thing.

“In Formula 1 they do it with different compounds and their racing’s pretty good so we can definitely learn from that.”

The opening race at The Bend Motorsport Park was punctuated by significantly higher tyre wear than expected.

The Repco SuperSprint marked the first time Supercars had raced at the circuit with the soft compound tyre having raced in 2018 and 2019 on the hard compound.

After the pre-season SuperTest at the circuit it was decided the soft tyre would be used at the circuit.

Coulthard said teams will have to get their head around how they can best manage the tyre for the remaining races at the circuit.

“We’d definitely prefer to be running on the soft tyre,” said Coulthard.

“I know we had a few issues with them today but this is the first time it’s really reared its head that it’s going to be a little bit of a problem.

“I guess we’ve got (Saturday night) for all the teams to have a good look at it, have a think about it and come back (on Sunday).

“The nature of this track is fast, long loaded corners. You’re asking a lot of the rear tyre.

“I still think we’re doing the right thing but we need to do a better job of managing it and make them last.”

Despite the challenges the tyre posed teams and drivers, Coulthard said the sport was better off for the excitement it created.

Such was the level of degradation that van Gisbergen lost nine places as he struggled on worn tyres late in the piece.

“We came here last year and it was a track that’s got no deg, there’s no passing,” said Coulthard.

“Even with the issues that some people had with tyres today, there was still plenty of passing and people coming through the field, making moves.

“That’s the entertainment part of our business. We want to create great racing and if that means something like this is happening.

“Yeah, it’s not ideal but give us time, give us the opportunity to learn and make it better and I think you’ll find the racing will remain very good still.”

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