Reigning Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin and series stalwart Mark Winterbottom have offered their praises for the revamped tyre regulations and race formats that spiced up last weekend’s Sydney SuperSprint.
Ahead of the weekend, Supercars announced a raft of new rule changes that stipulated strict tyre restrictions, staff numbers and data logging.
Only 20 Dunlop tyres were available to each of the 24 drivers for the weekend, and the indecently fast degradation levels of Sydney Motorsport Park made for some highly entertaining racing.
One of the weekend’s standout performers, Nick Percat, recorded his fourth career triumph on his 200th race start by opting to maximise his best tyres in Race 8.
Consequently, it meant the Brad Joens Racing Commodore struggled in the round’s final race – finishing ninth. But as Winterbottom highlighted after Sunday’s final race, the strict tyre rules kept the racing unpredictable and the front runners honest
“Different people win,” Winterbottom told Fox Sports.
“Percat’s win in that first race [on Sunday] was a different strategy and in the last race he struggled, but then Holdsworth came through at a rate of knots.
“Obviously, the good cars are still going to be good, McLaughlin has had a great weekend, Whincup and van Gisbergen are in the mix and they’re all under pressure. It’s actually nice to see those blokes under pressure because of different tyre strategies. I think it’s fantastic.”
McLaughlin picked up two victories across the weekend to extend his championship lead to 49 over Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup.
The kiwi also praised the condensed race format but hopes next round at Winton does not offer similar levels of tyre degradation.
“I didn’t mind [the new format], it sort of brings you back to the Development Series days, where you ran different tyres and some people were faster in the second race and all that sort of stuff,” said McLaughlin.
“I enjoyed passing and doing all bits and pieces, there was some really good racing this weekend and a track with good degradation provides that. Hopefully Winton, where there’s no deg, we can get some good spicy racing there.”
A circuit characterised by slow, high downforce bends, Winton Raceway has traditionally been a very difficult place to overtake.
But with a similar three-race format like that of last weekend at SMP locked in for the round, another round of unpredictable Supercars racing might well be on the cards.