Demanding test in the Czech Republic
The 5.403-kilometre circuit at Brno, Czech Republic, represents a true challenge, with its layout resembling the one of the Ardennes rollercoaster that made for such a thrilling race, at the Whitsun weekend. But in addition to the circuit’s layout, its tarmac also represents a true challenge. Opel works driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen explains: “The Brno circuit is rather demanding, as the track surface offers a lot of friction. Therefore, you need a lot of sensitiveness to find the perfect suspension set-up for the tires.”
Enzo Scaramella, Manager Motorsport of DTM’s exclusive tire partner, Dunlop, confirms: “The Brno track surface is the arguably most aggressive of all the venues on the DTM calendar. On the one hand, this makes for a lot of grip, on the other for an above-average tyre wear.” Furthermore, nearly the entire circuit represents a combination of fast and semi-fast bends.
“Even the slowest corner is a third-gear bend,” explains six-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM). “All the time it’s uphill, downhill, and for the fast bends, you need both a lot of downforce and a good set-up. But I love this circuit and I’m delighted that Brno is a DTM venue, once again.” Yet, before the set-up can be found, driver, race engineer and Dunlop’s tire engineer have to agree on what is necessary. They focus on gathering the optimum heating temperatures, heating periods, air pressure and further parameters by comparing last year’s data with those gained in the free practice sessions held on Friday and Saturday morning, to acquire the best possible compromise regarding tire performance and durability. Furthermore, the long-runs completed during the course of the practice sessions are used to determine the perfect time slots for the two obligatory pit stops that must be made during the course of the race. Basically it can be said that the more demanding a circuit, the more the teams try to divide the race distance into three stints of the same length.
Due to the lateral acceleration, the tires are extremely deformed
The combination of relatively fast bends and the aggressive track surface takes the tires to their very load limit, as these parameters make for extreme lateral forces. Enzo Scaramella: “Due to high grip level, the tires are virtually glued to the track surface. At the same time, the lateral acceleration in the fast bends makes the car – and the tires – move to the outside of the corner. This results in the tires being extremely deformed.” Yet, the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx – used since the 2004 season – is extremely good when it comes to coping with these extreme demands. During its development already – basing on the Ultra High Performance product for the everyday use – the engineers focused on achieving a perfect stress distribution in the tyre.