New Dunlops to provide significant step in speed
After initial testing of the new Dunlop Sport Maxx BTCC tyre range, the tyre company is forecasting lap time improvements of up to one second a lap at some circuits in 2017.
Dunlop had already predicted a significant increase in grip and traction following the introduction of bigger tyre sizes and new constructions for the 2017 season, and after initial winter testing can reveal the actual performance gains.
Teams have tested the new tyre at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Donington, Silverstone, and Portimao (Portugal) but the most representative test came from the Spanish ParcMotor circuit where a wide range of teams attended.
The twisty circuit, west of Barcelona, was chosen due to its mix of fast and technical corners. The fastest recorded time in last year’s test was 1m 44.28 and Dunlop can confirm that this was beaten by nearly one second by many of the attending teams.
As a result of this test, Dunlop is predicting lap time improvements of around 0.5 sec per mile at most circuits.
The improvement comes from a combination of factors. Firstly, the tyre size 265/660R18, compared to the previous 245/650R18, represents a width increase of 20mm.
In addition to the increase in size, the performance improvement will come from an enhanced construction to improve steering response and braking stability. The compound will be the same as 2016.
Sport Maxx Prime
A new naming convention will help spectators to follow who is using which tyre. At all races (apart from Thruxton) the Sport Maxx Prime tyre will be used. This was formerly known as the Sport Maxx Medium and, as before, will be used by drivers in two of the three races at each event. This tyre will use a bright yellow sidewall logo.
Sport Maxx Option
In one race at each event a ‘Sport Maxx Option’ tyre will be used with a titanium sidewall marking to differentiate it from the Prime. This will be either a softer or harder compound than the Prime.
The choices for each circuit are as follows:
|Dry tyre allocation||To be used in two races||To be used in one race|
|Brands Hatch Indy||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Soft|
|Donington||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Hard|
|Thruxton||Sport Maxx Option Hard to be used in all races|
|Oulton Park||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Soft|
|Croft||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Hard|
|Knockhill||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Soft|
|Snetterton||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Soft|
|Rockingham||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Hard|
|Silverstone||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Hard|
|Brands Hatch||Sport Maxx Prime||Sport Maxx Option Soft|
In addition, Dunlop have upgraded the ‘BluResponse Wet’ tyre to improve aquaplaning resistance with a revised tread pattern and the same 20mm width increase as the Sport Maxx Prime and Option dry tyres.