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Dunlop tyre could be Crucial Factor at Hamilton and Barbagello

Traction caught up with former V8 Supercar Championship Driver John Bowe who believes that tyre management IS one of the critical factors for drivers in the inaugural Hamilton City Street Race in New Zealand and Barbagello Raceway in WA.

John explains that the tough right angle corners of Hamilton ask a lot of questions of the tyres but they are certainly up to the task in hand.

"With 650 horsepower feeding through the 11 inch tyre it's asking a lot of the tyre to cope with all of that power coming out of those second gear corners," explains Bowe.

"Having said that the Dunlop tyre is proven to perform brilliantly in all conditions, from the tropical climate in Darwin through to the wintery conditions in Tasmania so I was confident that they wouldn't let any driver down in Hamilton."

As for the race itself, Bowe is excited at the prospect of a street race in New Zealand.

"This was a landmark event in New Zealand bringing racing to the heart of a city. Kiwis love their motorsport which showed, with Hamilton booked out for the last year in anticipation for this race. There are also a lot of team personnel who are from New Zealand which adds to the excitement and competition in the pits."

As for the race itself, although a new race to the V8 Supercar calendar, Bowe thinks that drivers wouldn't be too surprised with how Hamilton holds.

"Although it is a typical street race with right angled corners, the track is nice and smooth which is unique for a street race," explains Bowe.

"However, I expect many drivers and teams treat it the same as they would an Indy or Clipsal in terms of their car set up and we were certainly all anticipating it to be a panel beaters nightmare with little run off areas or gravel traps."

As for Perth, tyre management and qualifying well are usually the crucial factor between victory and failure on Barbagallo Raceway's tight, slow circuit.

"Everybody's been to Barbagello many times and traffic can get quite congested on this tight, slow track, which essentially became a one-lane circuit when a new surface was laid a few years ago. This gives little opportunity for passing and getting a clear lap is therefore critical," he said.

"The surface is relatively abrasive and the tyres improve as the race goes on. How this translates regarding tyre management, is that drivers will need to balance the importance of qualifying well with the need to get everything they can out of their Dunlop rubber during the race, ensuring they make the most of the few passing opportunities they are likely to get."

April 2008