V8 Supercars has released details of its new draft regulations for 2016 with changes to testing, tyre allocations and the SuperSprint weekend format outlined for the upcoming season.
In place of last season’s compulsory two-day launch, teams will now be allowed three test days this year. However, the regulations state one test day must be used ahead of the season-opening Clipsal 500 in March or it will be surrendered, while the other two test days can be used at their discretion throughout the year. Teams must also test in groups with their Dunlop Series counterparts.
Three additional test days will also be granted to a team or driver that has not competed for the last three years.
With the introduction of the Gen 2 Supercar in 2017, three test days have also been allocated to manufacturers, to allow any changes to manufacturer or body shape to be analysed.
The Sydney Motorsport Park and Phillip Island SuperSprint rounds will both become two-day events in 2016, with one hour-long practice session before qualifying. With SuperSprint Saturdays reverting to a single 120km race, qualifying will change to a one 15-minute session, rather than the 2015 back-to-back 10-minute format. Practice sessions for those SuperSprint rounds that still incorporate Friday running have been trimmed to two 40-minute sessions, rather than the hour-long runs in 2015.
Five sets of new Dunlop tyres comprising of three sets of softs and two sets of hards will be used specifically for testing, with the total allocation of tyres increased from 324 to 400 for the season.
Reacting to Craig Lowndes’ tyre failure while on softs at Pukekohe, coupled with a lack of data on the Adelaide street track,
Bathurst and Phillip Island will now be joined by the Clipsal 500 as the only rounds running the hard tyre. While Saturday’s 125km race has been designated an all-soft tyre race, the second 125km race and Sunday’s 250km contest will now be run on hards.
To ensure rubber is better managed this year, four sets of tyres will also be allocated to race on at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix support races – one set to be used in each race. Those tyres will then be used again for the two co-driver only sessions, which this year will be held at Winton and Queensland Raceway.
Teams were given the draft document in mid-December, but no further changes are anticipated with sign-off from the V8 Supercars Commission expected in February.