Dunlop Soft BTCC Compound Strengthened For 2014

Dunlop will supply a new specification tyre construction to the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with a greater lifespan expected for the softer tyre which must again be allocated for one race per event.

The new construction, derived from previous success within the GT Racing scene, will be used on all BTCC dry weather tyres, including the Soft, Medium and Hard Sport Maxx compounds introduced last season.

Dunlop’s development work in GT and Endurance Racing saw them supply the rubber of both the 2012 European Le Mans Series and 2013 Nurburgring 24 Hours winners.

Although the BTCC compound for each of these tyres will not change, the rubber has been developed prior to the 2014 season to enable greater feedback levels to the drivers, particularly rewarding more grip and confidence when needed most such as in high-speed cornering and heavy braking zones.

Michael Butler, Car Motorsport Sales and Product Manager, said: “Although we are a single-brand tyre supplier, we are driven to continually improve the product. Over the last few years, we have introduced several new developments, including Radio Frequency Indentification Tags, the Harder ‘Thruxton’ tyre, the new sizes for NGTC specification cars and, last year, the range of Soft, Medium and Hard Sport Maxx tyres.

“Very few endurance racing series allow the use of super-soft qualifying tyres, so even the softest tyres are designed for full-length stints during the race. That means it needs to be consistent over that time rather than giving you pace for a couple of laps then degrading. There will be phases where the soft tyre is the best choice and phases where the medium tyre will work best.

Photo: Dunlop Motorsport
Photo: Dunlop Motorsport

The new softer Sport Maxx tyre compound introduced in 2013 spiced up the tactical aspect of the previous BTCC season, with drivers splitting their allocations with only one race per weekend eligible for the soft tyre’s use for each driver.

The choices mixed up the season as drivers on different compounds found the advantage of the tyre, with Snetterton significantly showing the advantage when two of the three Norfolk encounters were won on soft tyre-shod cars, drivers fighting through to the front with the rubber’s added grip.

That rule will remain the same in 2014, Butler adding: “The new construction will work the compound harder, and we expect that teams will see a greater difference in race pace between the two tyre choices, depending on the temperatures and circuits.

“Testing has shown that the Sport Maxx Soft and Medium tires have quite different optimum operating windows, so this will put more focus on the strategic choices for the teams.”