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The debate over Supercars’ tyre rule change

OPINIONS are divided on the lower minimum tyre pressure rule which came into effect at last weekend’s Perth SuperSprint.

While drivers generally reported not noticing any significant change, it’s not disputed that the move to now allow pressures as low as 15psi (instead of 17psi) made for less degradation.

What is debated by some, however, is whether that is actually desirable.

Supercars general manager of motorsport Tim Edwards is known to be a proponent of facilitating the ability for drivers to push hard across entire stints without needing much tyre management.

“I think we saw lower degradation than we did 12 months ago,” he told V8 Sleuth when asked about the minimum pressure change in Perth.

“But it’s hard to quantify what caused that because the cars were very new to the teams when we were here 12 months ago, so they were still trying to get their heads around them, we had got different aero on the cars, we had different engine characteristics, so it’s hard to say whether just the lowering of the tyre pressure has reduced the degradation.

“But nobody was talking about having to nurse their tyres and I think (Sunday’s) race was great. (Saturday) was a little bit processional but you don’t always have cracking races.

“The drivers were able to push on their tyres for what appeared to be most of their stints.”

Adrian Burgess and Tim Edwards in discussion at Albert Park. Pic: Ross Gibb

Team 18 boss Adrian Burgess, who is Edwards’ predecessor having spent five years as head of motorsport at Supercars, by contrast feels tyre degradation is an important element.

“We didn’t have really much degradation in the races, so from the show point of view – it was a decent race at the front with Chaz (Mostert) and those guys – but I don’t think it really gave us much more,” Burgess told V8 Sleuth.

“I think the race would have benefitted from having degradation and different strategies going on, like we always used to have here. So I’m not really a fan of the 15psi.

“It did exactly what you know it’s going to do. If you think a few years back, we were all running them as long as we could – it’s not rocket science.

“But I personally don’t think the racing was that great, I don’t think there was a lot of overtaking going on like we used to have here, so I wasn’t a fan of it.”

The minimum 15psi rule is set to also be in play at the next two rounds, namely Darwin and Townsville.

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