This year Supercars made a switch back to the 2016 Dunlop control tyres after chaos ensued in 2017 when a new tyre was introduced.
When we’re talking chaos, we mean tyres blowing up when cars are at speeds of up to 300km/h – so much so that Supercars made the decision to revert back to the 2016 tyre for a select few high-load rounds, namely Bathurst and Pukekohe.
The 2017 tyres featured a flatter tread area and squarer sidewalls which made them fast, but not reliable.
It definitely put us on the back foot in some respect, and it wasn’t something that team driver Shane “SVG” van Gisbergen adjusted to quite well.
“We had a lot of tyres fail and every time they did we were in a good position so we gave away a lot of points this year which is a real shame because I think we would’ve been a contender otherwise,” van Gisbergen said at the end of 2017.
“The tyre was very hard to read from both a driver and an engineering point of view. The readings weren’t the same as the old one so as a driver you didn’t know the limits and as an engineer it was a bit harder as well.
“I made a couple of mistakes wearing them out and (Grant McPherson) probably pushed the limits as well but that’s all part of the sport, that’s how we go fast.”
For the 2018 season, we’re back on the trusty ol’ 2016 control tyres and SVG is smiling.
Winning his first Supercars Championship on these tyres in 2016, SVG has them down pat and is looking to replicate his winning season again this year.
“Obviously we’ve talked about the tyres a lot but last year we just didn’t understand them, kept making too many mistakes; team and driver of course,” van Gisbergen told Speedcafe.com.
“I think back on the ’16 tyres, we definitely understand them.
“As an engineer (or) driver, there’s the limit.
“It’s easier to understand, I think, for us; we definitely feel stronger on this tyre but now we have to learn the car.”
SVG’s first race back on the ‘original’ tyres worked in his favour last week as he managed to clean sweep the Adelaide streets with two pole positions and two race wins.
“How we tuned it (for Race 2 in Adelaide) didn’t work. It would’ve worked on last year’s car, (so) we need to learn the differences and understand them over the next few rounds, just be really critical of ourselves and stay on top of the new car.”
It’s a tyre that SVG is fast on so we’re hoping the momentum continues and perhaps we’ll see another 2016 season from Shane…