Home' Supercar Xtra : June July 2015 Issue 87 Contents 39
Campbell Little has pretty much been there and
done that in V8 Supercars; he has worked with the
best of the best and has been involved in many a suc-
cessful title tilt. Today he has kind of made a full circle
and landed back at Erebus, which is really the next-
gen Stone Brothers Racing where he spent time with
drivers like Marcos Ambrose, after also dabbling with
things like the Bentleys at the 12 Hour race.
He has seen it all, and he says the two biggest factors
in determining V8 Supercar performance and the rela-
tive difficulty to drive are the tyres and the spool diff.
“A lot of it is the tyre, but it also the history of the
cars and the knowledge of that,” he says when talking
a V8 Supercar.
“In a GT car, the tyre and horsepower are fairly well
matched with the aero. There’s also less room for
error with ABS and traction control... we still saw lots
of shunts at the 12 Hour, but I think they are more
What we have with a V8 Supercar is a tyre that has
been made to a certain specification for whatever
reason, and it doesn’t do a good job. We know Dunlop
wants to build a better and more modern tyre, but
their hands are tied. What it means is that in terms of
the world of motorsport, our tyre technology is dated,
and that makes these cars quite unique.
“The competitors have asked for this tyre though,”
“I’m quite sure Dunlop would give V8 Supercars a
better tyre if they were allowed. At Bathurst we saw
cars quadruple stinting their softest tyre, so there is no
real degradation there. They were doing four hundred
kilometres and at the end of it were less than half a
second slower than they were they were green. At dif-
ferent tracks with different track temperatures, we do
see the tyre performance fall off. So making that tyre
live is its own artwork, I suppose.
“When you go and take a step into GT racing, techni-
cally there’s lots of good things about it and it opens
your eyes to other sorts of things. But in saying that,
stepping into Porsche where you’ve got quite a good
tyre but you’re not allowed to do anything to the car,
you have to learn how to do the simple things and
realise how much effect it has on the car.
“I think sometimes it is too easy to throw a spring or
roll bar in it, or whatever else, and they’re not looking
at the finer things, like little bits of pitch or little bits of
bump rubber. The guys who have got their car sorted
do those sorts of things and the little things make such
“When you’re outside that performance box with the
limits on testing, you’ve got no chance. If it was a foot-
ball team and they said, ‘You’ve got to put your team
together but you’re not allowed to do any practice,
you can just go into events’, you’re only going to have
limited winners there, too.
“There’s the ‘haves’ and everyone else is just going to
scramble for years; if you don’t win races you don’t get
the budget, you don’t get the budget you can’t afford
the good engineers and the good drivers and it goes on
a bit like that.
“The spool is the spool, it is what it is and there is
no way around that other than treating the thing like
a go-kart (which a lot of people do). It’s not quite as
simple as throwing it into a corner, but it is like that.
“The issue is once they learn to drive one of these
cars, they then have to un-learn them to drive some
other cars. But obviously the reverse is true when
people come into it, they’ve got to learn that habit of
Little thinks it is these factors – tyres and the spool
diff – that lead to the indigenous domination of V8
Supercars, which in some eyes is good, but in others it
make it less relevant on the world stage.
“I think we’d probably end up with a more relevant
championship if we had the cars that were a bit easier
for drivers to understand. I think if they made them
easier to drive, it would only make it even closer, to
“I’m quite sure the team owners don’t want to be
paying the drivers as much as they do and it sounds
to me like our drivers are paid more than the average
overseas guys. As an engineer, we’d all like to see it
opened up to some of the more modern technologies,
So the specific challenge is taking a car with an
unsophisticated diff and old-spec tyres and extracting
speed in both qualifying and race trim... especially
qualifying, which seems to dictate race results. For an
open-wheeler pilot like 2014 IndyCar champion Will
Power, it is all the above plus the basic inadequacies of
a touring car that screws with his head.
“The car’s a lot heavier and it moves around and it
rolls a lot more than I’m used to,” says Power.
“Obviously the power-to-weight ratio is a lot less
than an IndyCar, but I think the toughest thing is the
braking; how long the braking zone is in a V8.
“THE ISSUE IS ONCE THEY LEARN TO DRIVE
ONE OF THESE CARS, THEY THEN HAVE TO UN-
LEARN THEM TO DRIVE SOME OTHER CARS.”
– CAMPBELL LITTLE
ABOVE: Scott McLaughlin
has proved that the Dunlop
Development Series is the
best breeding ground for V8
V8X87 p38-42 Driving Styles.indd 39
14/05/2015 2:10 pm
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