SEBRING, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2008) — MazdaSpeed Motorsports Development is switching its American Le Mans Series (ALMS) LMP2 prototype racer to Yokohama race tires this season as part of an enhanced team effort that in part will focus on “green” technologies.
MazdaSpeed's primary sponsor is BP America Inc., which brings research into alternative and renewable fuels along with its Castrol lubricants business, which already is active in many forms of motorsports. The car, a Lola B07/46 prepared by B-K Motorsports and powered by Mazda's turbocharged 2-liter, four-cylinder MZR-R engine, will feature both BP and Yokohama colors.
MazdaSpeed's multi-year deal with Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) ends a two-year relationship the team had with Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.
In announcing the switch to Yokohama, MazdaSpeed cited Yokohama's commitment to devote “critical resources” toward developing and servicing the team's tires and design and build an Advan race tire specifically for the LMP2 category as well as Yokohama's original equipment ties with Mazda Motor Corp. and the company's dedication to minimizing its environmental impact.
“Yokohama is happy to be reunited with our friends at Mazda,” said Fred Koplin, YTC's director of marketing communications, in a statement released by MazdaSpeed. “There are many who recall our past successes with RX-7s in IMSA GTU racing. The challenges in ALMS are huge, but we are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase our latest Advan tires against the best in the world.”
The 12-race 2008 ALMS season kicks off March 15 with the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in Sebring, Fla., and concludes Oct. 18 with a four-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, Calif. Jamie Bach and Ben Devlin are B-K Motorsport's primary drivers.