John Bowe: V8 Supercar Season Preview
The 2009 V8 Supercar Championship is finally here and to say I am excited is an understatement - this year is going to be one of the most thrilling ever!
I think the biggest news for the year that is really going to mix up the racing and the Championship is that for the first time ever, Dunlop will be supplying a second option tyre to all teams at selected rounds to create more strategic racing.
In addition to the current Dunlop Sport Maxx Control tyre developed and implemented in 2008, the V8 Supercars have requested an additional softer compound option tyre be developed that will be 2 seconds per lap quicker. The catch is though that this new tyre is also designed to wear quicker and each team will only be given one set per car at the selected dual tyre rounds (first one being Winton).
Dunlop has come to the party to deliver the all new Dunlop Sport Maxx Sprint tyre as specified by the V8s, meaning that team strategies are now going to play a much bigger part in the racing and we are less likely to just see a procession of cars for an entire race.
It will be very interesting to see when teams opt for the new Sport Maxx Sprint and what is going to be the most effective use of it. Qualifying? The beginning of the race? The end of the race? We will just have to wait and see. All of the teams have now also completed their limited pre-season testing with some interesting results. The two new Dunlop-sponsored FG Ford Falcons of Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards were the quickest at the Winton (Victoria) sessions with James Courtney, in another FG, quickest at Queensland Raceway.
Holden's quickest were Lee Holdsworth at Winton and Russell Ingall in Queensland. The new FGs have come out of the blocks looking good with no real issues or teething problems so far and FPR seem to have their ducks lined ready to go. However the first round of Clipsal from March 19th-22nd is one of the toughest races of the year so we will have to waitand see how they go in race conditions.