It’s fair to say our version of a gymkhana wouldn’t get the kind of YouTube views enjoyed by Ken Block.
But while there were no stunt vehicles, hovering helicopters, or doughnuts involved here, there were plenty of witches hats and Australia’s own Hoonigan, Luffy, MOTOR’s man-who-we-ask-to-do-the-important-stuff, Warren.
The motorkhana – laid out in Sydney Dragway’s vast car park – comprises seven tight-radius bends, interspersed with a short-burst straight, a quick-ish S-bend, and a shortish start/finish that blends into a fast, sweeping right-hander.
From a rolling start with the stopwatch triggered at an established start/finish line, three laps are recorded cumulatively – in second gear only and again with all electronic safety nets unclipped to eradicate those undesirable variables.
This is the toughest test yet for the tyres, as they’re subjected to the longest duration of punishment – asked to perform consistently on a longer run, with tyre heat introduced as a factor with the potential to affect results.
And tortured the tyres are, as Luffy attacks every lap as if he’s qualifying for a Bathurst pole – putting the Audi constantly on the edge of adhesion.
Tyres that performed well in the dry slalom were expected to go well here. And yes there was some familiarity in the scattering and ranking of the top six brands and bottom four brands in the motorkhana, albeit with some order changes in each group.
The budget tyres struggled, with the HiFlys making themselves heard not so much through squealing but through the RS3’s flaring revs that exposed power-down issues.
It was the Nexens’ turn to collect the wooden spoon, though – six-tenths slower than the HiFlys. The Toyos were seventh, yet would probably have hoped for a greater margin than four-tenths over its subsidiary brand Nitto.
Luffy noted some rollover in the Hankooks’ sidewalls and the Ventus set couldn’t replicate the podium heroics from the slalom, though they were still fifth – and still in the highly respectable 1min20sec ballpark along with the Continentals, Michelins and Pirellis.
Half-a-second divided the ContiSportContacts, Pilot Super Sports and P Zeros, again showcasing why these well-known performance brands are so popular with both enthusiasts and performance car makers.
No trophies for guessing the only tyre to break the 80sec barrier. The Dunlops volleyed home a 1min19.14sec to make it three wins out of three and leave rivals needing to come up with a different kind of hat trick involving a rabbit, if they were to top this pile of rubber.
|1||DUNLOP SPORT MAXX RT||79.14|
|2||PIRELLI P ZERO||80.26|
|3||MICHELIN PILOT SUPER SPORT||80.27|
|4||CONTINENTAL CONTISPORTCONTACT 5P||80.73|
|5||HANKOOK VENTUS S1 EVO2||80.98|
|6||GOODYEAR EAGLE F1 ASYMMETRIC 3||81.55|
|7||TOYO PROXES T1 SPORT||82.33|
|9||HIFLY HF805 CHALLENGER||83.55|
|10||NEXEN N FERA SU1||84.18|
Luffy provides testing times for our tyres
You don’t hire any old numpty to do the driving for a tyre test. Warren Luff brings to the table skills from his full-time job as a Movie World stunt driver, his experience as one of the best V8 Supercar endurance racers around and the fact he knows modern performance cars, and road tyres, better than surely any other Australian race driver. As a MOTOR stalwart he knows well the Tyre Test drill, which this year included 100 laps of the motorkhana, 600 cones slalomed around, and more than 2000 metres of emergency braking. Literally the best man for the job of testing tyres in Australia. Follow the Holden Racing Team’s Luffy on Facebook or Twitter (@warrenluff).