This is a decision that could have serious consequences for WTCR, Lynk & Co decided on Thursday to end its involvement in WTCR due to the tire situation. At Vallelunga as at the Nürburgring, several punctures marred the two events. So Sebastian Trinks, WTCR manager at Goodyear spoke to AUTOhebdo about the current tire situation in WTCR.
How did you find out about Lynk & Co’s announcement to end its involvement with WTCR?
We saw the statement in the press, everyone was a little surprised by this decision. But yes, it’s a Lynk & Co decision and yes, we only have 12 cars left on the track here in WTCR.
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How have the discussions gone since the events at Vallelunga (July 22-24) and previously at the Nürburgring (May 26-28)?
In fact, we did a lot of tire analysis after Vallelunga. We have provided information to the FIA, Discovery and all the teams. And as a result of this analysis, we concluded that there were no problems in terms of tire manufacturing. So it was correct from that point of view. We saw at the weekend in Vallelunga some cars with very high tire temperatures. We have never experienced this in the last two years apart from the Nürburgring in 2022. So you can see which teams are using their tires more than others and we have also analyzed track conditions and road conditions. operation ie. the track temperature, which was very high in Vallelunga, with more than 55°, and we suspect a level similar to the Nürburgring in terms of tire load.
Before the incidents at the Nürburgring, did you already have concerns about potential excessive tire damage?
In general, there have been no concerns about BoP. In fact, the Nürburgring weekend was the first time we had such problems in WTCR.
Was the cancellation of the races in Vallelunga a possibility after the punctures that appeared during free training?
No, for this event it wasn’t an option because we knew in general that in terms of tires, in terms of manufacturing and all that, everything was fine. We have therefore made great progress with the teams, together on site, with our engineers, with their engineers, to improve the tire situation. Most of the teams also helped us. We saw, for example, that in the first race we had more problems than in the second. This was possible thanks to the teams’ evaluations to adjust the car settings and driving style in the second race.
How to explain that some teams have been hit harder than others with puncture problems this season?
I still think it depends a lot on the car, the settings and the driving style. Know how to use tires. So yes, everyone gets the same tires which have been the same since we started this WTCR adventure in 2020, so there have been no changes to the tires since. Of course, the teams develop cars, the cars become faster, the tracks become faster with new surfaces or by changing the layout a little, for example.
Lynk & Co pointed to the weight of their cars as the main reason for several punctures. Are there other parameters that could explain this problem?
Generally we give a tire usage recommendation for each weekend and at this point we can only recommend the ideal pressure, but there are many other components on the cars in terms of suspension that we cannot influence. So at this point there needs to be closer communication with the FIA, with the teams to help get these issues resolved for the next races.
We have seen that some teams have managed to overcome puncture problems after all, such as Comtoyou Team Audi Sport.
That’s the example I mentioned, so the teams also analyze the data and a lot of on-board video from race 1 in Vallelunga and then take steps to race 2. In the end it worked, the situation at tire level was generally better and the driving style somewhat suited the extremes heat conditions we encountered in Vallelunga.
Will Goodyear supply a new type of tire to the teams for 2023?
This is still to be confirmed, we are working on different options. There are a few options on the table that we’re currently evaluating internally, we’re also getting feedback from the teams and the promoter based on next year’s schedule and all that, so yeah, I’d say it’s a work in progress.
Can we expect new problems with excessive tire degradation this weekend at Anneau du Rhin?
Most teams have done pre-season testing here, obviously in colder conditions than now, but no problems were reported to us after pre-season testing. We already had practice sessions today and in the end there were no reported issues on our side and some teams have already done full race simulations in these conditions. We have recorded a course temperature of over 40°, but we expect slightly lower temperatures on Saturday and Sunday on the course. So far it looks promising and so far so good.
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