Gold Coast 500 tyre bundles under review
Tuesday 17th October, 2023 - 2:09pm
The tyre bundles which contributed to a fiery, 11-car pile-up at last year’s Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 may not be used this year, Speedcafe understands.
The PremiAir Racing driver’s error was exacerbated when he thumped a tyre bundle, dislodging it and creating an obstacle for the 15 cars which were following him, still tightly bunched given the incident occurred on Lap 4 of the contest.
Now, Speedcafe understands that Supercars is in talks with Motorsport Australia about not using tyres to help mark out track limits this time around.
However, rather than necessarily being a response to the aforementioned carnage, it is understood that the reason is related to the durability of the new-for-2023 Gen3 race cars’ front bars.
Tyre bundles, ‘sausage’ kerbs, sensors, and even bollards have been used over the years, often in tandem with each other, to police track limits and/or as driver visuals.
A secondary gripe was that the tyre bundles had to be repositioned midway through the latter of those practice sessions given they had been moved back for a Carrera Cup hit-out but not restored to their original position when the Supercars headed back on-track.
Come Sunday evening, however, attention was squarely on the tyre bundles after the spectacular pile-up which Golding had set off.
James Courtney and Nick Percat were among those caught in the carnage and both were vocal in their criticism of the devices, but Shane van Gisbergen and Will Davison defended their application.
Of course, the chicanes on the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit serve multiple purposes.
While they provide a challenge for drivers and a spectacle for fans, they are also a means of controlling speeds for safety reasons.
Nevertheless, Speedcafe understands that the location and/or presence (or otherwise) of tyre bundles would not affect the track licence.
That much is consistent with comments last year from Race Director James Taylor to Speedcafe, when he explained that tyre bundles are primarily used as a visual reference for drivers.
Last year, they were placed at most turns which did not feature a wall immediately behind the kerb although Turn 2, that being the middle of the front chicane, was a notable exception.
A kerb hop/shortcut sensor was used at Turn 2, as well as four at the Beach Chicane, from Turns 7 to 10.
Practice for the Gold Coast 500 takes place on Friday, October 27.