TYRE management – they are two words that have frequently been mentioned in pit lane this season and come the Bathurst 1000, will no doubt be used again.
However, come this year’s edition of the Great Race there will be a change in how teams address that question.
Following a host of tyre failures at Phillip Island in May, a decision was made to use the 2016 Dunlop construction tyres for the Bathurst 1000.
It is a factor which will require an adjustment just as many teams were coming to terms with the 2017 tyre, but Nissan’s Michael Caruso thinks it will be “the saviour of the year”.
“On the 2017 tyre we've been up and down, but recently we’ve found a lot of one-lap speed which has been really handy,” he said.
“It’s a bit different going into Bathurst, we're on the 2016 Dunlop tyre, so it’s a different tyre and it’s probably more relevant to the speed we showed last year at Bathurst, given that we haven’t been on that tyre all this year.
“It’s going to throw a few curve balls, particularly because we haven’t been on that tyre for nearly 12 months.
“It’s readjusting all the things you’ve been doing this year to something a little bit different.
“[But I’m] Looking forward to the 2016 tyre at Bathurst because that’s the savour of the year.”
Caruso has every reason to feel frustrated by tyres at the moment as he was one of a host of drivers who were hampered by a failure this season.
During the first round of the Supercars’ Enduro Cup at Sandown, he was on track to place 14th before a tyre issue five laps from the chequered flag cost him seven spots.
For others tyre failures have led to more damage than dropping through the field, so Caruso hopes the change at Bathurst will lead to less problems with rubber.
“Unfortunately, there have been a lot of mixed messages out there about these tyre blowouts, but as a driver we’re only subject to so much we can do in the car. There’s not much you can really change,” he said.
“A tyre’s going to blow on you and at the moment it does, unfortunately it feels like you’re a bit of a sitting duck.
“Sandown was that occasion, five laps to go. Even 500 kay, it’s a long way to go to have a tyre blow that close to the end.
“You are basically a passenger if a tyre fails at a high speed corner, so the last thing we want to see is any unwanted damage.
“Anyhow, it’s something that the teams need to deal with and I guess that’s one of the aspects in going back to the 2016 tyre that no-one really had any dramas with.”