SCOTT McLaughlin believes his high-speed crash in testing vindicates Supercars’ decision to revert to an older specification of tyre.
A few laps earlier, the DJR Team Penske driver had set the fastest time of the afternoon session to that point at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Then, with no warning, a puncture sent him off the track at Turn 1 — the fastest part of the circuit.
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“I headed into Turn 1, normal thing, no dramas whatsoever, then the tyre went down and I went straight ahead,” McLaughlin said.
“I was pushing the pedal, 1500 PSI, it was doing nothing! Just ended up in the wall.”
McLaughlin left the crash site in an ambulance but headed straight to the team garage, uninjured.
Of the impact, he said: “It was decent. Thankfully for most of my career I haven’t had a big head-on hit, but that’s the biggest I’ve had.
“The car and everything did its job as per usual, as did the tyre wall. But it skipped across the gravel pretty easily.”
McLaughlin was on one of the tyres introduced by Dunlop for the 2017 season.
After a string of punctures and failures at events last year, including at the Sydney Motorsport Park round, Supercars and Dunlop elected to revert to a tyre closer in specification to 2016.
“I think it proves and backs the decision of Supercars to move to the ‘16 tyre. We had a ‘17 tyre on there. I’m guessing that may be the issue, but we’ll have to work it out.
“We’d just put them on, did that 29.2, then we came in and repressured and went again. That was our fifth or sixth lap, and then it went down.
“We just didn’t have any other tyres and were trying to get a bit of a baseline of where we were.
“We didn’t really have an amazing morning session, we were just bowling around on bad used tyres from 2016. We were just focused on baselining the car.
“To be honest, the car felt awesome. It’s just a shame that happened.”
The first corner of the circuit has been resurfaced since Supercars last visited Sydney Motorsport Park, but McLaughlin wasn’t sure the higher speeds generated were a factor in the puncture.
“Turn 1 was a lot quicker. I was tipping in like it was a qualifying lap on a race run,” he said.
“We’ll have to analyse what happened, but it was definitely a lot faster today.”
The damage from the crash ruled the No.17 Falcon out for the remainder of the test day.