Top GT3 squad Rowe Racing has voiced displeasure at DTM’s decision to race with a softer Michelin compound for the first season under GT3 rules, claiming it ‘doesn’t work’ for the M6 GT3.
The series recently made the call to race on Michelin’s softer S8M compound, as opposed to the harder S9 tyre.
This, however, has caused issues for the two BMW M6 GT3s that Rowe Racing is entering for Timo Glock and Sheldon van der Linde, as it struggles with higher tyre degradation than some of its rivals.
“I don’t think the idea of racing with the S8 compound is particularly great,” team boss Hans-Peter Naundorf told Autosport.
“That’s because the tyre doesn’t work with our car, unlike the S9. At first they said we would use the S9 tyre. Then we tested it, invested in it. And then at the Hockenheim test they suddenly say that the S8 tyre is now also there.
“We had a crazy degradation. After five to eight laps, the tyre was gone. Then you can only tell the driver to drive more carefully. You can’t get a grip on that via set-up changes.”
Naundorf went on to suggest that the higher levels of degradation is the result of both the car’s power delivery from the twin-turbocharged V8 engine, as well as the cars’ overall design, comparing the front-engined M6 to rival cars from Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari.
“You could just as well ask why Mercedes doesn’t have a high level of degradation with this tyre,” he said. “That is due to the design and the drive system.
“We have a turbo engine that works more like an electric motor and has a very high torque in the lower range. That’s why it puts more load on the wheels. The more turbo pressure, the more power comes from compression.”
“The Ferrari is not so compressed and does not have such a [high level of] boost. Thereford, the turbo curve is rather flat and resembles a naturally-aspirated car.
“If I have a car with a light rear axle, because the car is very front-heavy due to the design, the wear at the rear is simply greater than with a pure-bred sports car like the Porsche or the Audi.”