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Dunlop expects “curve balls” from new Supercars tires

The Aussie category will launch a third control mix for the first time this weekend at the Darwin Triple Crown, the new set of pads that will be used there and in Winton at the end of next month.

The idea of ​​the move is to spice up the race with more degradation that Dunlop’s focus was on any significant increase in lap speed.

First tested by Supercars and Dunlop in 2016, this super-soft compound was selected in a blind tire test with Triple Eight and Dick Johnson Racing late last year.

According to Dunlop Motorsports Supercars boss Kevin Fitzsimons, the tire should only be about 0.75 seconds faster than the soft compound in Hidden Valley this weekend with maximum grip.

However, he expects the tire to be on its last legs at the 60-kilometer mark.

With five sets for three qualifying sessions and three 110-kilometer races, Fitzsimons predicts some “cornering balls” for the teams.

He says Friday’s practice sessions will be crucial for the teams to try to understand the tire as they try to agree on a strategy for their only tire stop – for at least two tires – in each race.

“It’s basically just designed to wear out faster,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It’s not a massive change in grip, maybe three quarters of a second per lap. But after 60 kilometers it will be good, well beyond its usage by the date. I expect we’ll see a significant change in the pace on laps 18-20 of the tire.

“It will be an interesting challenge. It will lengthen the pit strategy.

“Will you only change two tires? Will the transition be so quick for the tire that you can change and balance all four tires?

“By the time we get up and running, there are a lot of things that nobody really knows. For example, how hard can you push it? And will it just be the rear wheel that goes away, or will it kill the right front tire as well?

“Won’t the wear and tear on the rear left be so great that you can change the right side of the car? There are many, many curve balls.

“It will be interesting to see how it fares. The engineers will earn their keep.

“Everyone is in the same boat. The two teams that tested the tire last year didn’t get any data. And since then they have done a lot of laps in the cars, so the situation has changed. There is no real advantage for them. ” “

The Supersoft was slated to debut at Winton late last month, only to postpone that meeting until next month due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

The plan for the Winton debut was for a minimum pressure of 19 psi, however Fitzsimons confirmed that the standard of 17 psi used for the other connections will be in play for Hidden Valley.

“The minimum pressure remains at the normal 17 psi,” he said. “We wanted to experiment at Winton at 19 as it was a little colder just to change the shape of the profile and wear it out even faster.”

The teams will start the Darwin weekend with nine brand new sets of tires as there are no pre-marked tires from other events.

Four of these sets must then be returned at the end of Friday training to go to the pre-marked bench for Winton.

Fitzsimons says this will also open the door for teams to be creative when they are from Jul 31 to Aug.

“After training, they have to give me 16 back – but they don’t all have to be used,” he said. “You can keep a new set and then use it for Winton.

Training for the Darwin Triple Crown begins on Friday at 11:25 a.m. local time.

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