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Dunlop: Drivers head to the 'top end' for V8 Spectacular

New Dunlop Compound Introduced at Hidden Valley

The V8 Supercar Championship Series moves North to contest the SKYCITY Triple Crown at the Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin, Northern Territory for Round Six of the 14-round series.

Making his tenth, and final start aboard a V8 Supercar last year at Hidden Valley, Dunlop Ambassador and two-time Bathurst Champion John Bowe explains why the Hidden Valley circuit has grown into one of the most popular stops in the series.

"I really love racing at Darwin - it's one of the tracks that I really miss," explains John.

"As a driver, this is a very physically taxing round because of the heat, but the high speed sections and variety of corners make it a very enjoyable and rewarding circuit to race on. The straight is massively long and leads into a second-gear, 180 degree corner that you approach in excess of 270kmph - it's absolutely fantastic."

"While it is very hot for the drivers, the heat doesn't tend to be that much of an issue for the tyres. With the straight being 1.1km long the tyres get a long rest while the remainder of the track is pretty tyre sensitive with a good variety of corners where getting the power down is a real focus, especially coming out of the hairpin and also coming onto the main straight. The three keys to a good lap around Darwin are getting a good run out of the hairpin, onto the main straight and having good horsepower."

Hidden Valley will also host the introduction of a new tyre compound for Dunlop as Kevin Fitzsimons, Dunlop's V8 Supercar Operations Manager explains: "Dunlop's product development team is continually looking at ways of improving the performance of its road and race tyres," Kevin said.

"The only difference from our control tyre introduced in 2002 to the tyre released at Hidden Valley is that we've replaced the oil-based additive in the polymer binding agent of the tyre compound with a synthetic material."

Kevin said that the new control tyre was tested by selected Holden and Ford teams at Phillip Island two days after the Dunlop Grand Finale in December 07 and drivers gave the tyre the thumbs up.

"The binding agent will not compromise the tyre's speed or grip levels, and our testing actually indicates an improvement in the tyre's performance - it will be business as usual on the race track," he said.

The first shipment of 1800 tyres has now arrived for use from Hidden Valley through the Phillip Island 500, with a second batch to follow for Bathurst and the remaining rounds. For Darwin the teams will be provided with an extra set of practice tyres for the weekend. At future sprint rounds they will receive 16 new tyres, rising to 24 for each of the endurance races.

June 2008