Shane van Gisbergen is wary of more mixed tyre compound action at Albert Park, saying the speed difference between the two tyres will be “huge”.
The Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint will see Dunlop’s Super Soft and Hard tyres used for the first time in 2023.
It comes after the Thrifty Newcastle 500, the first round of the Gen3 era, was conducted solely on the Soft tyre.
Drivers must use both Hard and Super Soft compounds in all four sprint races next weekend, with the compulsory pit stop window opening on lap 2.
Last year’s event featured high drama, with a number of drivers suffering issues as they ran long on the softer compound.
From there, teams played it safe as most opted to start races on the softer compound before quickly reverting to Hards.
However, the high-degradation Albert Park layout still saw some drivers strike trouble — including van Gisbergen, who finished 20th in the finale after a late puncture.
Speaking on the Rusty’s Garage podcast, van Gisbergen suggested there could more more drama in 2023, given the new variable of low downforce Gen3 cars.
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“This year will be interesting to see if that still happens with these new cars and not as much downforce,” he said.
“We’re on the Super Soft and the Hard tyre. It’s the only time this year we race on the Hard tyre.
“The speed difference between the two is going to be huge.
"It might make for good racing… or it might be like last year where everyone runs the Soft until it falls apart and puts the Hard tyre on. We’ll see.”
The Albert Park format is unique in that drivers are mandated to use Hard tyres in two sessions, and Super Softs in the other two.
It could lead to headaches for teams and drivers as they juggle car balance.
Come the race, drivers could then be forced into strategy Hail Marys should they come unglued in qualifying — a point also reiterated by points leader Chaz Mostert.
Drivers must also factor in fastest lap bonus points, which are on offer for the first time in 2023.
“It’s another unknown, it’s a completely different track,” van Gisbergen added.
“We had a lot of tyre dramas there last year, on the Soft tyre. This year we're on the Super Soft.
“It’s got a brand new surface there and a lot of high-speed corners.
“It really ate the tyres and they were literally falling apart after three, four, five laps.”
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint on March 30-April 2.