Dunlop, the sole tyre supplier to the V8 Supercar Championship Series, has confirmed that it will introduce a new, more sustainable, control tyre at Darwin's Hidden Valley round over 4-6 July.
Kevin Fitzsimons, the company's V8 Supercar operations manager, said that the new control tyre is a result of Dunlop - which is in the first season of a renewed five-year deal - wanting to improve the sustainability of the current control tyre's ingredients, rather than a reaction to any one problem.
“Dunlop's product development team is continually looking at ways of improving not only the performance of its road and race tyres, but also the sustainability of tyre ingredients,” Fitzsimons said, “The only difference from our control tyre introduced in 2002 to the tyre released at Hidden Valley is that we've replaced the oil-based additive in the polymer binding agent of the tyre compound with a synthetic material.
“The sustainable binding agent will not compromise the tyre's speed or grip levels, and our testing actually indicates an improvement in the tyre's performance – it will be business as usual on the race track,” he said.
Former V8 Supercar driver John Bowe said that the new control tyre was tested by selected Holden and Ford teams at Phillip Island two days after the Dunlop Grand Finale in December last year and drivers gave the tyre the thumbs up.
“I was at Phillip Island for the testing of the tyre and was extremely impressed with the grip levels and speed of the new Dunlop product,” explained Bowe, who retired at the end of 2007.
“Having been involved with Dunlop for a long time, I have been fortunate enough to see the testing for both the race and road tyres and it is testament to the product development teams located all around the world that continue to take Dunlop tyres to the next level.”
The first shipment of 1800 tyres has already arrived for use from the Hidden Valley through to the Phillip Island 500, with a second batch to follow for Bathurst and the remaining rounds after that.
For Darwin, the teams will be provided with an extra set of practice tyres for the weekend. At future sprint rounds, they will receive 16 new tyres, rising to 24 for each of the endurance races.