28 April 2011
Dunlop talks tyres for Thruxton
Dunlop talks tyres ahead of the latest rounds of the BTCC season this weekend
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to Thruxton this weekend for the fourth round of the season; a circuit which provides a unique challenge for tyre supplier Dunlop.
With much of the circuit being a high-speed right hand bend, extra pressure is put on the front left hand tyre of the car, which means Dunlop provides teams with a special specification of tyre for the race weekend.
For 2011, that includes an 18” version of the tyre for the NGTC-specification cars, with Dunlop's BTCC manager Michael Butler discussing the challenges that Thruxton provides...
Why is Thruxton such a tough circuit on tyres?
Thruxton is the fastest circuit on the calendar. However, compared to most fast circuits that have long straights, Thruxton is one long sequence of curves that constantly put tyres under heavy load. Even the start finish 'straight' is curved!
In addition, the circuit has a very abrasive surface and our Thruxton tyre has a compound that has been proven to cope with this.
Thirdly, the kerbs at the chicane and the complex are very aggressive and our revised construction is designed to tackle the challenge of a tyre impacting with these kerbs at high speed.
What support do you offer the teams to optimise the tyre performance?
At all rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship we have a group of highly qualified tyre engineers who monitor the pressure and temperature of each tyre whenever the car comes into the pits during practice, qualifying and after the race. Measuring the temperature across the tread face of the tyre can highlight if teams are running a set up that is too aggressive to provide optimum performance over a full race distance.
In addition, our unique Radio Frequency ID chips in the tyres allow us to monitor the usage each tyre and assist the teams in managing their allocation of tyres over the weekend.
What guidelines do you issue to teams?
With this special tyre, it is critically important to run specific vehicle camber settings and tyre pressures to optimise its performance. Last year, the winning teams followed these settings and had strong tyre performance throughout the weekend. We will share this advice and guidance from last year's success with all the teams.
Do you also advise on specific tyre pressures for Thruxton?
Tyre pressures vary from car to car and are also dependent on set-up and driving style. Our analysis of tyre temperatures and pressures from qualifying and practice will allow us to guide the teams on what pressures they should run in the race. When tyre pressures are low at the start of the race, we also advise avoiding the kerbs until the tyres are up to full operating pressure and temperature.
Dunlop talk about 'Race to Road' technology. Is the Thruxton challenge relevant for road tyres as well?
Tyres, whether for the racetrack or the road, are complex items formed of many components. Maintenance and inspection are critical. We recommend that all motorists inspect their tyres regularly, check pressures, avoid kerbing their tyres and have their geometry checked – just like we do with our BTCC teams in maximizing their tyre life and performance!
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