We tested DHE at the Nürburgring
What is DHE? It follows DHD!! Yes, but more specifically it is the “new” tire compound that Pirelli constructed for 2020.
In previous years a number of teams had complained that the cost of running the car for the season was too high – it is a general complaint in most championships, and it gets worse every year. One way to cut cost is to reduce the number of tires during a weekend. One way to reduce the number of tires is to constructed a harder compound which will last longer.
We were hopeful that the new 2020 tire would give us, a team running a BMW, a better chance in competing. We were too hopeful.
We started the weekend on Thursday with a number of test sessions, followed by more test sessions on Friday. The official weekend started on Saturday with free practice, pre-qualifying and qualifying. To make a LONG story short, we tried EVERY single setting possible – damper, spring, roll bar, wishbone, rack, pivot setting … you name it. We simply could not get the front tires to work – we could not get the tires to heat up! We found out that another team running the BMW M6 GT3 had spent 10 days, 41 new tire sets and could not get the front tires to heat up!!!
(NOTE: you might ask yourself what the consequences are in having front tires not coming to temperature. It causes understeer – the inability to turn the car at its best, causing you to slow down and lose time. The understeer then causes oversteer, the lose of the rear of the car. So imagine, after your breaking phase the car not wanting to turn, having to slow down and then losing the back, all in a split second. A nightmare.)
We ended up qualifying second to last!!! I was only 1.5 seconds off the pro and because I out-qualified the other bronze driver, Gilles, I was to start the race. However, as we could not get the tire to warm up, the degradation of the tire was very low. After a number of calculations, it was decided that I double stint – start the race, do a full hour, refuel, without changing tires, and go back out for another hour. We would save 27 seconds!
After my first stint we had gained 3 positions. After my second stint we had gained another 2 and we were doing well. Jens (the pro) took over. He maintained our position. Then Gilles took the wheel for a double stint. After 45 minutes the engine died! Dust and gravel had entered the engine compartment perforating the water pump belt, causing the engine to overheat – it was over!
In two weeks we have the official test days for the 24hours of Spa. It’s another circuit. It’s another day.
Be safe and healthy.