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Supercars tyre tweak for Winton

Supercars is set to tweak its tyre rules for the second appearance of the new super soft compound at Winton next month.

Dunlop Supercars control tyres

Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

The new rubber made a somewhat underwhelming debut at Hidden Valley on the weekend, providing lap record pace but not delivering on degradation.

The tyre was expected to drop off dramatically at around the 60-kilometre mark, however it proved to be durable enough that drivers could easily run two-tyre stops during the 110-kilometre sprint races.

Two factors are thought to have primarily contributed to the lack of degradation, the first being the track surface, famously easy on tyres, and the second being the high winter ambient temperatures in Darwin.

The 30-plus degree heat allowed teams to run a low true pressure while using the sun to warm tyres and keep the live pressure over the minimum 17 psi requirement.

As a result there will almost certainly be a lift in the minimum pressure for Winton, and it may even be above the 19 psi that had been flagged for the event.

"[The tyre] didn't go off as much as we expected based on the test, but it's a very different surface here to QR," Dunlop's Supercars boss Kevin Fitzsimons told Motorsport.com.

"The pressure side of things, with the heat the 17 psi wasn't a true reflection of where the tyre was running at.

"[A lift in minimum pressure for Winton] will be a given with the colder weather. And it doesn't necessarily mean it will be 19, it might be more, it might it might be less.

"But we'll certainly have a pressure adjustment for Winton, going by what we've discovered this weekend."

Shane van Gisbergen, winner of two of the three races in Darwin, agreed that low pressures were highlighting thermal degradation rather than wear.

"As a driver they're awesome," he said of the super softs.

"They provide massive grip, they're great to drive. But my theory is that they have too much grip and they're not sliding, so they're not wearing.

"There's not massive marbles like I thought there would be. So its mainly thermal deg, and that's why the racing was worse – when you followed you got hotter, quicker.

"That's what I'm thinking. But I'm sure if you went to Townsville or QR, a track that eats tyres, the racing would be really good.

"Maybe the tyre pressure needed to be higher for this round. You could see all the teams had their tyres in the sun and then trying to bleed them down. The true pressure was probably 14 or 15. That's probably a bit of the problem here; you can bleed so much out of the tyre because it's so hot.

"It was good, but not what we intended."

Despite the lack of degredation, Fitzsimons said he was happy with the debut of the super soft, particularly after Will Davison lowered the qualifying record to a 1m04.955s.

"I'm happy, I think the drivers seem to like the tyre," he said.

"We had no structural issues with the tyre and the guys liked the grip.

"It took a little while for the drivers to get their heads around it but we took six-tenths off the track record, which was set in 2019 when the cars were aerodynamically different. So it's a step in the right direction.

"It would have bene good if it had dropped off the cliff a bit more, but at the end of the day we still had battle packs through the whole field. There was plenty of passing.

"There's plenty of people our there that will do some homework and we'll see what happens at Winton when we get there."

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