Dunlop eyes GT class race tires in '15
BIRMINGHAM, England (Sept. 23, 2014) — Dunlop Motorsports Europe plans to broaden its race tire program next year with the development of a tire for GT-class cars competing in international endurance racing series.
As such, Dunlop Motorsports—a unit of Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe B.V.—said it hopes to build on the success it has had the past few years in supplying tires to teams competing in the LMP2 category of both the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series.
This year, LMP2 teams running on Dunlops were unbeaten, including winning a fourth successive class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
To launch its GT initiative, Dunlop has scheduled tests for the proposed tire this week at Italy's Autodromo di Monza and is planning to test at at least three other circuits in coming weeks, according to James Bailey, communications director.
“We are proud of our partner teams' results in LMP2,” he said, “and we believe we can build on the knowledge gained both in LMP2 and in recent GT successes in developing a new tire evolution for 2015.”
Dunlop will work with the various car makers already active in GT competition for the upcoming tests.
The tire maker has experienced success in GT-class racing with open tire competition, winning the 2007, 2008 and 2012 European Le Mans Series with JMW Ferrari, the 2011 and 2012 American Le Mans Series with BMW and the 2013 Nurburgring 24h with Mercedes-AMG.
“At this stage,” Mr. Bailey said, “there's no confirmation of which teams we will supply in 2015. Our goal is to achieve another step forward in performance before presenting our test results to possible partners.”
Mr. Bailey said at this stage Dunlop Motorsports is not targeting any individual race series, but noted the company's scope in the past few years has been more European-centric. He declined to rule out supplying the GT LeMans class of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, which sports an open tire policy, but indicated the effort is more directed at the World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and German endurance series.
Dunlop can tap into experience it has in Touring Car competition—Dunlop race tires are used in the British Touring Car Championships and Australian V8 Supercar championship.
The decision to broaden the portfolio comes several months after Goodyear-Dunlop relocated the production of race tires for four-wheel vehicles to its plant in Hanau, Germany, which produces ultra-high-performance tires and is the base of the main Dunlop European Technical center.
It also relocated production of competition motorcycle tires to Montluçon, France, which makes both street and track two-wheeler tires.
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