Blog: BTCC season resumes at picturesque Oulton Park
After what seems like a very long break, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship resumes this weekend for the fourth round at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
Oulton Park has a real festival atmosphere and is a round we really look forward to. It’s a high-speed circuit with a great combination of dips, climbs and bends leaving little room for error.
Its unique characteristics make it a popular track with drivers and given the tight, not to mention unpredictable, results so far this season, I’m sure the podium will be richly contested.
The biggest challenge though is likely to come from the weather. Wet conditions will add another little bit of spice to a circuit that already demands skill and precision from the drivers. Our engineers and technicians will be working hard advising the teams, as the tactical decisions of if and when to switch to wet tyres will have dramatic consequences, as we saw in the last round.
Switching to wet tyres has an enormous impact, because a wet tyre has to behave in the exact opposite way to a dry tyre. It needs to be able to cut through the rain water to the track surface, providing both mechanical and chemical grip from the tread pattern and the compound, as well as being able to work at low temperatures.
In developing a wet tyre our engineers have to consider the stability of the pattern blocks and pay careful attention to the orientation of the grooves to allow the tyre to remain stable as it warms up.
In the wet, the ability to transfer forces is different so you can’t lean on a wet tyre in the same way as you can a slick. In an ideal world you would have a different set-up for wet conditions – softer and with less negative camber – but in reality a wet tyre frequently has to live with a dry set-up.
But of course a good wet tyre should also be able to last a reasonable amount of time on a drying track, particularly important given our delightfully unpredictable English summer weather. It is these interchangeable conditions that could present the biggest strategic challenge to all of the teams this weekend.
One thing’s for certain – Oulton Park will hold surprises and drama and no doubt will provide a great spectacle for racing fans, bring it on!
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