V8 Supercars announces mandated minimum tyre pressure

2014 V8 Supercars tyre compund
All V8 Supercar tyre pressures must now meet a minimum of 17psi. Photo credit: Keith McInnes Photography

 A mandatory minimum tyre pressure of 17psi for all Championship teams has been announced by the V8 Supercars Commission.

The Commission sanctioned the move after receiving recommendations from tyre manufacturer Dunlop on minimum tyre pressure and maximum camber for the 18-inch Sport Maxx control tyres in September.

Following a spate of punctures at the Pukekohe Park Raceway and Queensland Raceway, an investigation by Dunlop found low tyre pressure and high camber were contributing factors, alongside poorly maintained track edges.

Previously, the recommended minimum pressure for the tyre was 18psi, but it is believed several teams had experimented with settings down into single figures, to extend the life of the sprint (soft) tyre.

In an interview with V8Supercars.com.au in August, Dunlop V8 Supercars operations manager, Kevin Fitzsimons said the low pressures place increased stress on both the hard and soft compounds can lead to punctures, particularly when coupled with aggressive camber settings and sharp kerbs.

“The soft tyre originally was only designed to do 80km and people are stretching it to 110, 120, 130km,” Fitzsimons told v8supercars.com.au.

“If everybody has got the same pressures then it may improve the show because then you have the tyres dropping off rather than staying good to the end of the race.

“If we could mandate a minimum pressure then everyone would have the same and then we send them out and see how we go.”

Fitzsimons also explained that the lower pressures also put more pressure on the sidewall, which is what generates the failures.

“Basically, with the sidewall squashed it changes the profile of the tyre to put more rubber on the road and tries to help take the load off the centre of the tyre,” he said.

“It puts massive load on the sidewall at the joint between the steel belt and the sidewall and that’s where the failures creep in.”

Earlier this year, the V8 Supercars commission discussed the possibility of mandatory tyre pressure sensors, but with around 40 wheels per car, the cost of fitting sensors was deemed too costly.

The minimum tyre pressure will come into effect at next month’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with a list of penalties to be ratified beforehand.

As with the process of weighing vehicles, the V8 Supercars technical department will have the authority to check tyre pressures without notice. These checks may occur prior to practice, qualifying and races.