TEKNO Autosports’ Shane van Gisbergen says tyre conservation will determine this weekend’s Perth SuperSprint, round three of the V8 Supercars Championship.
Western Australia’s Barbagallo Raceway is notoriously harsh on tyres, and with half the allocation of last year, the Darrell Lea STIX Commodore driver said tyres would be the biggest talking point of the weekend.
“Tyre life and strategy will be a major factor. Last year we saw short stints on the soft tyres, and everyone ran crazily low tyre pressures to make them last,” Van Gisbergen said.
“This year we’ve got half the number of tyres and a minimum pressure rule, so tyre management will be vital.”
Teams have 12 hard tyres and four soft tyres at their disposal at SuperSprint rounds, but Van Gisbergen says the conditions in Perth will demand vastly different strategy to Tasmania.
“You could get away with double stinting on softs at Symmons Plains because it was cool and the track is good on tyres, but Barbagallo is the complete opposite. It’s abrasive and temperatures will be in the mid to high 20s,” Van Gisbergen said.
“It’s always exciting racing in Perth because it’s tight, everyone’s close in qualifying and there’s a lot going on with different strategies and tyre degradation.”
Van Gisbergen aims to continue his top 10 form, and is confident of leaving the disappointment of last year’s trip west in the past. He currently sits fifth in the Championship standings, after two point-scoring rounds.
“The Darrell Lea STIX Commodore is much stronger than this time last year. We were a bit lost in Perth but we understand where we went wrong, so things will be better from when we roll out of the truck this time,” he said.
“Our aim for 2015 is to be quicker everywhere, and show we don’t have any weak tracks,” team boss Jonathon Webb added.
Barbagallo and Symmons Plains were Van Gisbergen’s low points of 2014, but a fresh approach this year saw him bounce back in Tasmania, and he feels Perth will also bring resurgence.
“We showed we’re quick at Tasmania and now we’ve got to do it at Perth. It gives you confidence knowing that things will be better, and I know we can do a good job,” Van Gisbergen said.
“The most important thing is having a fast car every weekend, so as long as we’re consistent, I’m happy.”
The Perth SuperSprint is has two 60km dashes on Saturday, with a 200km feature on Sunday, and makes up races six to nine of the V8 Supercars Championship.