TYRES ISSUES BLIGHT THRUXTON
A new specification of tyre will eliminate failures that blighted the race weekend at Thruxton and caused two of the meeting’s three BTCC races to be shortened, according to championship officials.
Four cars suffered problems with their Dunlop rubber during the opening race at midday, and Matt Neal’s failure on his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R on lap 11 caused a multi-car pile-up that led to the race being red flagged.
Particularly warm temperatures on race day were blamed for the issues, and series boss Alan Gow met with Dunlop heads after the opening round in Hampshire. They decided to shorten the race distances by 9.4 miles and run over 12 laps rather than 16.
A statement from the series bosses stated: “For rounds eight and nine, due to high track temperatures and after consultation with Dunlop, the race distances will be reduced to 12 laps.”
Dunlop’s communications director James Bailey said that the supplier had brought the same compounds to the meeting as it had in 2014 and 2015, but it had found that the new RML parts, which a number of teams have fitted this season, mean that the cars are working “more efficiently and putting more load through the rubber.”
Series director Gow said the right decision had been made last weekend and that the problem was unlikely to recur because a new larger tyre would be introduced in time for next season.
“Every year – without fail – in race one at Thruxton some teams have tyre failures, usually as a result of pushing the boundaries either on their suspension set- up or over use of the kerbs,” said Gow. “In races two and three they usually don’t have those same problems because they alter their set-up or driving style to suit. The same thing happened this year, exacerbated by the unseasonally high temperatures.
“Only four cars in that first race had tyre problems – so that’s some 85 per cent of cars that didn’t have that issue. And three of those four tyre failures were as a result of kerb strikes. It’s no coincidence that those who took the recommended route on set-up as well as avoiding the over-use of kerbs, such as Adam Morgan did, reaped rewards.
“That’s not to say it isn’t being looked at – of course it is. Everyone is quick to blame the tyres and share no responsibility…yet how come those same tyres do the same race distances for the next two races on the same day on the same track without issues?”