Debris suspected culprit for tyre failures

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/07/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Dunlop motorsport manager Kevin Fitzsimons believes debris was the most likely cause of the trio of tyre failures that hit late in Race 16 at Ipswich.

James Courtney, Nick Percat and Garth Tander all suffered left-front failures with just under 15 of the 65 laps remaining.

Percat’s issue left parts of his Holden’s left-front guard on the circuit, triggering a Safety Car that threatened to turn the race on its head.

While the impact of camber settings on tyre longevity has been a hot topic this year following previous failures, Fitzsimons said the nature of today’s issues suggested there was another factor at play.

“We’ve had a look at the tyres after they’ve come back to the pits, but once they’ve been driven on like that it just compounds the damage so you can’t sit back and go ‘100 per cent there’s the problem’, unless there’s a big hole in the middle of the tread,” explained Fitzsimons. 

“The fact that they were so close together points to maybe there was some debris on the edge of the track. We can see on the data there’s a seven-second deflation, so it’s not instant.

“The seven seconds can be the start of the liner being pierced, and then it just opens up and there’s instant loss of air. But when they come back to you after they’ve been driven on like that, they’re hot and smouldering and there’s nothing at all you can sit back and point your finger at.

“I’m thinking it’s more likely something on the track is the culprit.

“We’ve seen it here before, the back edge of the kerbs; you do get shuffled out there a bit, and it’s quite aggressive the aggregate where kerbs finishes and when the cars divot out, it’s quite coarse there.

“The tyre is only 2mm thick in the sidewall, so it doesn’t take a lot to pierce that. Unfortunately when it comes back, there’s not a lot of the sidewall left, so you can’t even see gravel rash on it.” 

Will Davison also suffered two failures today, spearing off at high-speed on the entry to Turn 3 on both occasions.

The team put its car in the garage to investigate a suspected mechanical issue and elected not to return it to the circuit.

Davison later described the situation as “very weird”, stressing that more analysis needs to be undertaken on the car to fully understand the issue.

“We could see the temperature of the tyre (during the race thanks to the pressure sensors) and the inside edges were getting massively hot,” he said.

“Then they were just blowing, very suddenly with no warning. I had two very close calls when they let go, and the third one was just about to go so I pulled in to check it.

“We need to analyse and see if something else has gone amiss with the car which has created this.”

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