V8 Supercars star James Courtney says he and his fellow drivers are being made passengers in their own cars by the championship’s tyre regulations.
Each team will have four sets of fresh tyres for this weekend’s three race at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway, three sets of soft tyres and one set of the harder compound.
Friday’s practice sessions showed teams the abrasive surface at Barbagallo is just as bad as ever, meaning tyre wear will be a serious factor throughout the weekend.
Courtney says the lack of fresh rubber and the unforgiving circuit just forces teams to adopt conservative tactics and drive to numbers rather than situations.
“Because you don’t have enough tyres, you can’t just rag it and lunge and all this sort of stuff,” Courtney said.
“One, you don’t want a flat spot it because then you’ve completely destroyed it and two, you’re going to burn the tyre out.
“So you end up driving to a number and just really hoping that the number you’re driving to is going to be better than the one they’ve got.
“It just takes a little bit of the aggression out of the driving and stops people having a good, red-hot go.
“It’s more engineers racing than us racing I suppose.”
Ford driver Mark Winterbottom, who finished behind Holden pair Courtney and Tim Slade in Friday’s practice runs, says data gathered from those runs will mean little when new tyres are stuck on the cars.
“Last year we had seven (sets) and the track condition has gotten worse so it’s pretty hard to manage,” Winterbottom said.
“Tomorrow will be the test with all new tyres on and go a second quicker and then re-learn our whole car again.
“The guys who didn’t finish as well last year have lots of good tyres but those who did don’t have much at all so it’s always hard going into qualifying.
“It’s just one of those things where you have to put new tyres on, go a few seconds quicker and see where you end up but at the moment we’re looking pretty good.”