Controversy #3 – The Japanese use tires from their containers not from local suppliers.
While reading WTAC’s rules, the rule book only states that certain tire models must be used in competition. For some reason, the way Sierra Sierra and I remember it, the tires are supposed to come from the truck at the event or a local tire dealer. The whole point of this is to keep parity among the field of competitors so that anybody from any team can purchase the same tire from a retailer locally. Now why is it that the Japanese are always unloading tires from their containers and we are always getting our Hankook tires from the local Hankook dealer in Blacktown (the city where Eastern Creek Raceway is located)? Even the Garage Revolution team was unloading Hankooks from their own container that came from Japan.
Tire durometer is the measurement of a tire’s softness. The lower the durometer number, the softer the tire is. Thursday morning, the Hankook TD Z221 measured 50/51 on the tire durometer gauge. Last year, the CyberEVO’s Advan A-050’s also measured around 50/51 on the gauge in similar weather (definitely within a couple degrees). The funny thing is that the CyberEVO’s tires measured 45/46 on the gauge this year. It may not sound like much, but that's 10% softer. And to top it off, they were 295 width A-050’s! Until that moment in the time-space continuum, I thought only 265 wide A-050s were available to the public. For the record I didn’t pull a fast one. I asked Tarzan if I could measure them after a friendly chat.
Actual CyberEVO tire and rim.
Check out the Unlimited Works blog here: 295 WTAC Special tires for CyberEVO. Translated using the wonderful Google Translate it says something like:
Unavailable in Japan, WTAC-specific tire (for right now)
Release date is undecided. You will not get an answer from Yokohama Tire.
Maybe sometime before winter?”
The Garage Revolution team showed up with 8 shaved Ventus TD Z221 tires. WTF? Shaved tires brought over from Japan are allowed? It turns out they didn’t go any faster on the shaved tires, but still, you get the picture. Speaking to Mr. Aoki, the owner of Garage Revolution, he told me they tried them in the 3rd session on Saturday.
Since there is no language in the rulebook that states that tires must be acquired locally from a local retailer, we did not stage a protest. The guys at WTAC are running on a lean team and there isn’t a full time eligibility scrutineer. Ian has already agreed that I will be the eligibility scrutineer for WTAC 2012 if I am not with a team. Watch out Japan: I am going to be the freakin eligibility Nazi. TIRES WILL NEED TO BE ACQUIRED LOCALLY!!! The only shaved tires that are going to be allowed are the ones I shave while blindfolded after the pub.