BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A TYRE ENGINEER After a successful race weekend spent racing in the Italian sunshine in Monza, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will travel to Zolder, Belgium, on 20 June 2010 for rounds seven and eight of ...
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A TYRE ENGINEER
After a successful race weekend spent racing in the Italian sunshine in Monza, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will travel to Zolder, Belgium, on 20 June 2010 for rounds seven and eight of the season. The championship will visit the Belgian circuit for the first time ever and as always, official tyre supplier YOKOHAMA will be on-hand to support teams and drivers, but what does a hard weekend's work at the race track entail for the YOKOHAMA team?
Three YOKOHAMA tyre engineers travel across the globe to each WTCC event, one of which is Technical Consultant Ian Beveridge, whose role it is to monitor the tyre performance and wear, as well as provide advice to the teams.
"During a typical race weekend, my team and I arrive at the circuit by 8.00am at the latest and often work until 7.00pm," said Beveridge. "On the Thursday before a race we would normally inspect the circuit, record the relative grip level and compare it to data taken the previous year, which can vary if it has rained or there have been heavy frosts over the winter. However, as Zolder is new to the WTCC for 2010 we can't do this, so we will have to start afresh and collect all the information relevant for us during the weekend.
"We walk the full length of the circuit looking for hazards, such as bumps and drain covers on street circuits to steep kerbs or sharp stones in the gravel traps on conventional circuits. From this information, we can advise the teams on the track conditions they can expect for the weekend ahead."
At each event, the team also suggests working limits for tyre pressures and camber, specific to that track under the current conditions. "Often teams will approach the YOKOHAMA team for advice on how aggressive they can afford to be with their set-up without negatively affecting the rubber," explained Beveridge. "It is our job to let them know how much camber they can run without creating undue stress on the tyre."
Although the entire race weekend is always busy, it's the Saturday of the event that the YOKOHAMA tyre engineers are at their busiest. Beveridge added: "With two practice and qualifying sessions we need to be on-hand for the teams and drivers to ask any questions that arise during these four sessions. Also, with the FIA taking the WTCC race cars into Parc Ferme for scruitineering after the qualifying session, we need to stay onsite until they are released in order to deal with any last minute questions before race day.
"The Sunday's tend to be more straightforward: however, if conditions have changed overnight, we are available to make suggestions according to the weather. Throughout the day we record data from the tyres, looking for signs of stress or wear. It's a long weekend, but when we leave the circuit we know we've recorded information that will help us improve the YOKOHAMA products across our complete range."
Race action from Zolder will be broadcast on Eurosport, with Qualifying aired at 08:30 (CET) on 20 June 2010. Live coverage of Warm up will follow at 09:00, with Race One at 12:45 (CET) and race two at 14:45 (CET). The WTCC's behind-the-scenes programme, 'Inside WTCC', will be shown on 22 June 2010 at 23:15 (CET).