GP2

Spa: Bridgestone preview

With just three rounds remaining in the 2010 GP2 Series, Spa Francorchamps will provide the next instalment of GP2 action on 27-29 August, this time on Bridgestone's medium specification slick. Spa presents many challenges in...

With just three rounds remaining in the 2010 GP2 Series, Spa Francorchamps will provide the next instalment of GP2 action on 27-29 August, this time on Bridgestone's medium specification slick.

Spa presents many challenges in terms of car set-up and tyre pressures, and is a relatively stressful circuit for the tyres due to the varying demands of the track and its high speed nature.

The venue offers a lengthy 7.004 km lap distance, also being renowned for its steep elevation changes and variable weather conditions which are often experienced during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Bridgestone's medium compound GP2 dry tyre has been re-introduced to this round of the championship, as the lower working range of this specification is more suitable for the cooler ambient temperatures expected here and the abrasive track surface. In addition to the Potenza racing slick, Bridgestone's wet GP2 tyre is commonly utilised at Spa, and due to the fact that it can sometimes rain on just one section of the circuit, the teams' tyre choices and pit stop strategies can be highly influential on race results.

Alvaro Parente and Giedo van der Garde were victorious at this circuit in Belgium last year on the soft specification Bridgestone tyre, Parente securing Ocean Racing Technology's first ever GP2 win.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Many drivers enjoy Spa Francorchamps because it has a fast layout, features some unique sections of track and offers a variety of corners. As well as preparing the car for the high speed turns, the teams also need to adjust the set-up to achieve the traction required on the approach to Eau Rouge and to give stability in the heavy braking zones before turns five and eighteen. Drivers need to manage the front right hand tyres well, as turn ten is a quick left hand corner which loads up the front right of the car. The medium compound GP2 dry tyre has been selected this year for Spa as the track surface is quite abrasive and temperatures can be unpredictable, meaning this specification will offer the best working range."

Bridgestone's 'wet weather' GP2 tyre profile

Spa Francorchamps, located in the forested and mountainous Ardennes region in Belgium, is one of the most likely circuits on the GP2 calendar to provide wet racing conditions. If rain falls during this year's GP2 event it will give Bridgestone's innovative wet weather tyre a chance to demonstrate its full capabilities...

Tyre profile:

Bridgestone's single wet specification GP2 tyre was designed specifically for the F1 feeder series, being required to work in both light and heavy wet weather conditions, and on a drying track. This tyre has a sophisticated tread pattern with sloping blocks. These enable the tyre to deliver good performance on a wet track and a drying surface, due to their clever wear characteristics.

The purpose of the wet specification tyre is to provide a pattern that is capable of clearing water whilst on-track, stopping the car from aquaplaning. Bridgestone's wet tyre compound warms up by the blocks of the tread pattern vibrating.

With the introduction of slick dry tyres to GP2 in 2006, replacing grooved dry tyres, the working window of the wet tyre was extended because the slicks have no ability to clear water and there is no intermediate tyre as per the GP2 Series regulations.

Wear life:

The wear life of Bridgestone's wet GP2 tyre is dependent on track conditions. In heavy wet weather conditions there is little or no wear, however on a drying circuit the pattern is worn down making the sloping blocks stiffer which in turn helps car balance. On a completely or nearly dry track, the allocated slick compound is required.

Regulations:

Three sets of wet GP2 tyres are issued per driver, per race weekend. With the exception of the races, wet weather tyres may only be used after the track has been declared wet by the race director, following which wet or dry weather tyres may be used for the remainder of the relevant session.

-source: bridgestone

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Series GP2