Gold Coast 500 tyre bundles under review

A tyre bundle at the Gold Coast circuit's Beach Chicane. Image: Ross Gibb Photography

A tyre bundle at the Gold Coast circuit’s Beach Chicane. Image: Ross Gibb Photography

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.

Chaos ensued early in the Sunday Repco Supercars Championship race at Surfers Paradise in 2022 when James Golding got loose through the Beach Chicane complex.

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.

Track limits, and the means of enforcing them, are invariably a controversial topic whenever Supercars’ annual stop on the Glitter Strip rolls around.

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.

Drivers were left frustrated after Friday practice last year by what they claimed was the inconsistent detection of kerb hops by the sensors.

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.

The Supercars field navigates the first chicane on the Gold Coast circuit, sans tyre bundles. Image: Ross Gibb Photography

In fact, van Gisbergen and Davison went as far as saying that hitting tyre bundles and/or abusing big kerbs is self-penalising anyway so, where they are feasible, then sensors should not be used.

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.

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