Han­dling cir­cuit

Wheels (Australia) - - 2017 Wheels Tyre Test -

While the slalom and brake test el­e­ments are de­signed to iso­late a tyre’s cor­ner­ing and brak­ing tal­ent, the han­dling cir­cuit in­stead puts ev­ery aspect of tyre abil­ity to­gether as a com­pact way of mea­sur­ing a tyre’s han­dling and col­li­sion-avoid­ance ca­pa­bil­ity. The fact that it’s a bit of fun cer­tainly doesn’t hurt driver morale con­sid­er­ing the rep­e­ti­tious, an­a­lyt­i­cal na­ture of the rest of the pro­gram. A lap starts with an open right hand sweeper, which feeds into right and left hair­pins, fol­lowed by a short straight. Then there’s a 90-de­gree right-han­der, a left/right chi­cane, and the start/fin­ish line. We use the cir­cuit to scrub the sur­face of each new set of tyres too, and it’s star­tling to see how much grip im­proves af­ter a hand­ful of laps. Ev­ery el­e­ment from tran­sient and steady cor­ner­ing to brak­ing is tested, and tyre tem­per­a­ture is added to the equa­tion, the left front cop­ping the worst of it over our trio of two-lap dashes. Time is the mea­sure of per­for­mance on the cir­cuit and we record lat­eral G-force, too. The me­dian two-lap time was 56.73 sec­onds, with the best and worst times sep­a­rated by 1.85sec. We saw more than 1.0G a cou­ple of times, against a me­dian of 0.94.

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