Drivers under pressure in Super Soft's Tassie debut

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/03/2022
  • By James Pavey

The NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint will be the first event to solely use the updated Super Soft tyre compound.

Dunlop's updated Super Soft tyre made its debut at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight.

The March 26-27 Symmons Plains event will be one of three rounds in 2022 to be solely be run on the Super Soft tyre.

The Winton and Darwin events will also be conducted on the softest rubber.

The softer rubber creates greater variability in lap speed, and degrades at a greater rate than the Hard and Soft compounds.

However, where the Sydney event’s two 300km races feature just one set of Super Softs, the Tasmania sprints will be conducted on the Super Softs only.

That will provide a new challenge for drivers and engineers at the notoriously tricky 2.4km layout.

Symmons Plains is a power circuit; cars require strong brake and turn characteristics to perform well.

Tyre degradation isn’t high, but tyre life is crucial; the circuit’s two long straights are preceded by heavy stops.

While there is a key focus on straight line speed, with teams moving to compromise downforce to reduce drag, tyre life will be a major talking point.

It was the case in 2021; notably, Cam Waters started on the front row for all three races, but dropped away after burning up his tyres.

With no grip left to fight, Waters dropped from second to fourth in a lap in the 2021 Tasmania finale.

"We’re good over one lap; just trying to get the tyres to hang on on it [in the races]," the Tickford Racing driver said last year.

"I thought we were going alright, and I thought we were going to get there to the end.

"Those last six laps, [the tyres] fell off the cliff… I was battling out there, and I couldn’t quite get it done."

Symmons Plains may offer a sub-minute lap time, and there are only three major braking zones.

However, the 44-lap races will feature a realm of different tyre strategies race to race.

Each entry will be given seven sets of Super Softs for the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint.

Minimum tyre pressure will also be 19psi instead of the standard 17psi.

Van Gisbergen's superior tyre life aided his 2021 Tassie win

Considering the negative precedent set by Waters and Tickford in 2021, how drivers look after the even softer tyres next weekend will be crucial.

"The new Super Soft is significantly softer than what we had last year," Dunlop operations manager Kevin Fitzsimons recently told Supercars.com.

"We’ve also lifted the pressure of the tyres from 17 to 19psi.

"When we used the Super Soft in Darwin last year, the minimum pressure was 17 psi, but teams constantly bled them back.

"What we saw in Darwin wasn’t a true representation of the performance of the tyre; it lasted too long.

"If you’ve got more air in it, the tyre crowns in the centre and it will wear out. That’s what we want to get overtaking and strategy.

"We don’t want the fast guys to race into the distance; we want to make them work for it."

The 2022 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

Every session of the event will be broadcast live on Foxtel (Fox Sports 506) and streamed on Kayo.

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