12 January 2014
How do Yokohama develop WTCC tyres?
Technical Talk: Crash.net looks at tyre development in the FIA WTCC with Yokohama.
2014 sees the first drastic regulation changes in the FIA WTCC since its rebirth from the former European series in 2005. The big changes will be seen with improved engine performance and aerodynamic properties, while the technical regulations will also see tyre sizes grow by an inch.
Wanting to know more about the impact this will have on this year's action, Crash.net's Dexter Fielding spoke to Ian Beveridge at the Autosport International show about the development of tyres over the years and going into the 2014 season, where regulation changes come into force.
Beveridge is one of Yokohama Motorsports' technical consultants and has been working in the FIA WTCC since 2007, a year after the Japanese company became the 'control tyre' for the series.
Ian, Yokohama have supplied tyres for the championship since 2006: how have you seen development change over these last 8 year?
In some respects we are limited on what development work we can actually do, that is in effect due to the contract - once you introduce a tyre, it has to stay that way for the contact duration, and so if we have made any mistakes, then you have to live with the consequences of that until the contract has run its course.
Equally with our tenure we have had to make some minor changes to the basic tyre, because changes in legislation don't allow some components in the construction which were in the tyres. Now we are not allowed to use them anymore so we have had to refine and find replacements for those. We have had to make small, very minor modifications just to try and improve the reliability and consistency of the tyre to produce a robust and reliable tyre.
What is the most important or critical process of tyre development for the series?
Most important? I think we always look for a consistent product, so one that gives us a reasonable lap time, not necessarily the fastest that we can achieve, but over the course of a race distance will give the competitor a consistent feel. Of course there is always a drop off in performance, but we try and keep that to a minimum, so that racing can continue in a sensible fashion right until the end.
It also means that qualifying is less than a one lap wonder so you can have a second chance, in practicality you don't get that second chance. It's not a disaster if you miss your first lap; you have a second attempt to do that.
So to have a consistent product is one thing but to also make sure it can cope in different climates and conditions throughout the world. We will go from very hot temperatures such as South America to colder and wetter conditions such as Anderstorp in the past which has not been that nice. So the one tyre has to cope with both conditions, we have to be sure that whatever product we turn up with will cope in all conditions on different types of car and still give a good performance - so those are the areas that we concentrate on.
The regulations are changing drastically this year, so how has Yokohama approached those changes?
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