FONTANA, Calif. (Jan. 3, 2005) — Kumho Tire U.S.A. plans to join the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) this year as a race tire supplier.
The U.S. marketing arm of South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc. said it will select a racing team and begin testing in January. Kumho already is in talks with GT and prototype teams.
“We have been involved in amateur road racing in the U.S. for a dozen years,” said Rick Brennan, brand manager for Fontana-based Kumho. “We've enjoyed success and have learned a great deal and are ready to enter a professional series.”
Kumho said the main attraction of the ALMS is its forum for tire competition.
“ALMS is the only professional road racing series in the U.S. that promotes tire competition, and that's important to us,” Mr. Brennan said. “We don't want to compete against ourselves in a spec tire series because that doesn't prove how good our tires are. We want to showcase the performance of our tires by competing against—and beating—other tire companies.”
The ALMS is a series of sports car endurance racing events patterned after the 24 Hours of Le Mans, France. The series features four classes: two prototype two-seater racing classes and two production car-based GT categories.
The 2005 season will comprise 10 events in North America, including the 12-hour endurance race in Sebring, Fla., and a 1,000-mile event at Road Atlanta in Georgia. The other eight are considered sprint races of two hours and 45 minutes.
Other tire companies supplying ALMS competitors include Michelin North America Inc., Goodyear, Pirelli Tire North America Inc. and Yokohoma Tire Corp.