Supercars officials have ordered a full review of the tyre chaos that marred the first day of this weekend’s Phillip Island round, which saw the big race shortened after 11 drivers suffered an unprecedented total of 15 blowouts.
At one point the track was so littered with shards of rubber and debris that a safety car had to be called upon to help remove it.
Early blowout casualty Fabian Coulthard was able to rebound to claim the win and secure the championship lead.
Behind him was a trail of chaos that gave new meaning to the term ‘dead rubber’ – and the sport’s organisers are keen to know why and how so many tyres failed.
“Supercars and Dunlop will conduct a full investigation into the tyre issues from today’s race,” Supercars sporting and technical director David Stuart said in a statement.
Craig Lowndes suffered a high-speed crash in practice on Friday, careering into a tyre wall that threw his Commodore into the air.
It was a farcical situation, and veteran Nissan driver Rick Kelly took to Twitter to show his displeasure.
Garth Tander – who ran a conservative setup and recorded his first podium for new team Garry Rogers Motorsport as a result – said organisers erred by not conducting a tyre test at the circuit.
“That’s what should have happened before we got here. This is easily the most tyre-sensitive circuit any category in Australia goes to,” he said.
Second-place finisher Jamie Whincup says the burden to managing tyres fell to teams.
“You can be ultra aggressive on setup and driving style and you can blow one out no troubles at all or you can be conservative … that’s up to all the teams,” he said.
“Should the category make it so you can’t get it wrong? Maybe.
“I think Supercars can do a better job allowing teams not to make the mistake but at the moment it’s up to them.”
Mobil 1 HSV Racing called Saturday’s race an “absolute disaster from start to finish” after both of their drivers endured dour days.
Scott Pye was hit by two blow-outs and James Courtney suffered one of his own before being turned around by Cameron Waters.