Supercars stars slam ‘stupidly high’ minimum tyre pressure

Supercars will use super soft tyres this weekend at the Darwin Triple Crown. Picture: Ross Gibb

Shane van Gisbergen and countryman Andre Heimgartner have hit out at Supercars’ “extreme” mandated minimum tyre pressure.

The baseline figure has climbed to 20psi from last year’s minimum of 17psi.

The move was made for two reasons; firstly in the interest of safety to reduce the risk of tyre wall damage, and secondly, to induce greater tyre wear.

Supercars had introduced a rule prior to this weekend’s Merlin Darwin Triple Crown preventing teams from “baking” their tyres in the sun. However, Supercars u-turned on that decision a day prior to practice.

The impact of the change is exacerbated by a new super soft tyre compound introduced at the start of the 2022 season, which is even softer than last year’s version.

At a hot and humid Hidden Valley Raceway, the top two drivers from Practice 2 bemoaned the change at the close of play.

Brad Jones Racing’s Heimgartner said the resulting tyre wear could either make the racing boring or action-packed.

“They could have maybe gone up not as high on the tyre pressures,” said Heimgartner.

“I think it’s a bit extreme but they’re trying, I guess, to get an extreme result so I think they are definitely going to get.

“No one really knows what’s going to happen. We’ve seen some long runs and the tyre deg is fairly significant so it’s going to impact the strategy.

“It might even make the race more boring because you can only pit in a certain window to make the whole race without absolutely blowing your tyres up.

“I think you’ve got different stages of obviously the drop-off and I think it’s going to go into the worst stage a lot quicker, so at the end of the race there’s going to be a lot of sliding around, people running wide, maybe a bit more action, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Asked what he thought of the changes, van Gisbergen reserved his true thoughts. However, he noted the importance of qualifying to start the races with clean air.

The Kiwi was quickest at the end of Practice 2, having been 17th in the preceding session on a race simulation.

“I’ll get in trouble if I say my feelings,” he said.

“Qualifying is going to be real important here. The tyre pressures are just stupidly high so you need to be up the front; if you’re following, it’s going to be super tough to race.

“I think everyone is going to be in the train just sliding around so you have got to try to qualify well.”

Qualifying for Race 16 gets underway at 11:45 local time/12:15 AEST.

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