Tyres have been the talk of the track so far this season and V8 Supercars yesterday confirmed that teams will receive an extra set of four hard tyres per car to be used in practice on Friday at Winton only.
With testing reduced to three days this year, two of which have already been completed at the two-day SuperTest in February, Friday’s two hour practice sessions are even more valuable and RBRA Race Team Manager Dutto thinks the extra set, which must be returned to Dunlop after the second practice session, will benefit the whole field.
“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “This is really good in that it gives all the teams a yard stick to measure themselves off and it gives the commentators and the fans and everyone a really good gauge to see what’s happening, so they get a better taste of where teams are at.
“We’ve got a lot more practice time this year compared to last year, absorbing the test days that we don’t have, so it is necessary to really make use of the reduced test days. I think it’s a fantastic initiative to cut down on test days and have the extra testing on a Friday, so I think it’s great.”
It’s no secret that Winton has become somewhat of a bogey track for the Red Bull Holdens over the last couple of years, the Victorian circuit being the only one the team is yet to claim a podium at since the inception of the Car of the Future. But will the introduction of the extra set of tyres help to turn this form around?
“It won’t hurt,” Dutto said, “but we had a very similar format last year with the practice tyres and it isn’t a silver bullet and it won’t be a silver bullet. They definitely will help because the data gathered either disproves or validates your testing on your other practice tyres.”
The rules stipulate that every extra set of tyres must be returned before Saturday morning’s practice, meaning they can’t be used in qualifying or races, something which Dutto is more than satisfied with.
“Right now I think the racing is fine with the amount of tyres we have, I don’t think we need any more,” he said.
“You want difference – you want people to use their tyres differently, to have different strategies, to give people a chance to mix things up and that breeds good racing, so I see it as nothing but a positive.”
The potential return from the extra set of practice tyres is, according to Dutto, invaluable for every team in pit lane: “It’s a small expenditure for teams in comparison with the usefulness of data that you get and it sets you up for a much better race weekend. Every single team up and down pit lane will benefit from it, so it’s definitely a good thing.”