Supercars tire compound switch for Sandown explained

The Supercars field at Sandown in 2021

The switch from the soft tire compound to the super soft for this weekend’s Supercars round at Sandown will be a championship first.

Historically run on the Dunlop soft tire, a compound change was ratified last month for the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint.

Each car will be allocated a pre-marked set and seven event-marked sets of the super soft, per the supplementary regulations.

Operations Manager at Dunlop Motorsport, Kevin Fitzsimons, explained that it is the 2021 version of the super soft being run this weekend, rather than the tweaked 2022 versiondue to an abundance of un-used stock.

“We had 720 of the super softs left over from last year,” Fitzsimons told Speedcafe.com.

“The Winton event [last year] was canceled due to COVID, so we took those tires – because they were already marked – we took them to Darwin [in 2021].

“We still had the Darwin [2021] tires in stock so we’re just using those.

“First time on the super soft [at Sandown] but it’s the 2021 version of super soft which is in between what we’ve got now for 2022. It’s just a different version of it. “

While the super soft tire delivers faster lap times, degradation will be up compared to the soft used in previous years at the circuit.

Sandown has large kerbs, particularly at Turns 2 and 3, though Fitzsimons is expecting the super soft to hold up well.

Notably, the 2021 version of the super soft, to be used this weekend, is known to last longer than the slightly softer 2022 version.

“The tire will be fine, it’s not a high-load circuit; we normally run a soft tire there for the 500km race and that does the enduro fine, ”he commented.

“Construction is the same with all the tires, it’s the same with the hard, soft, and super soft.

“The teams are aware of that so they will just watch that, especially around the Turn 2-3 complex where all the kerbs are pretty aggressive.

“They’re well aware of it after Townsville [where the super soft was one of the available mixed compounds]which is really hard on the tire case as well, so I’m not expecting any issues at all. “

Should any of the three 36-lap races be run in dry conditions, the usual mixture of strategies is expected as to where fresh rubber is placed in the pit stops.

“I think most of them will just [change] two [tyres in the pit stops]”Added Fitzsimons.

“Whether it’s right-hand side or two rears; the left-hand side has a fairly good holiday around Sandown.

“The left-hand rear does scrub a little bit because it sort of drags everywhere, so the wear can be up on the left-rear a little bit even though it’s not a loaded tire.

“You might find the teams, if they’ve got a car that’s understeering a bit… there’s all sorts of possibilities.

“I’m not expecting anyone to change more than two in the stops.”

Practice 1 for the Supercars Championship at Sandown begins on Friday at 13:10 local time / AEST.