Dunlop: Strong performance across all classes in WEC opener

Dunlop had a very successful start to the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone race this weekend, taking two class wins and a total of eight podium finishes from a possible nine.

The spotlight was on the LMP1 Private Team category where the three entrants have chosen to compete on Dunlop tyres for the 2016 season.

The number 13 Rebellion Racing car won the class despite starting from the back of the grid after a mechanical issue in qualifying. They were followed across the line by the sister number 12 Rebellion R-One-AER and the ByKolles CLM P1/01-AER which had a more troubled race.

Attention was also on the three Aston Martin Racing Vantages competing in the LMGTE Pro and Am classes having also switched to Dunlop tyres for 2016. The number 95 car finished third in the ‘Pro’ class while the number 98 took the second step of the podium in ‘Am’.

While the LMP2 class is also technically a tyre war, all competitors chose to race on Dunlop rubber. The class was won by the RGR Sport by Morand Mexican team on its debut race in the Championship but there was strong competition with ten lead changes throughout the six hour race. RGR Sport led the most laps with its Ligier-Nissan at the front for 96 of 179 laps. Extreme Speed Motorsport’s number 31 Ligier-Nissan was in second place followed by the G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan; all three separated by only 42 seconds.

The conditions were cool but dry and the LMP2 teams used both soft and medium compounds in a variety of strategies, with some using the harder compound on the left side to complement the energy bias of the track.
      
Alexandre Imperatori, Driver #13 Rebellion Racing : « The longevity of the tyre was very good. We knew what to expect from testing. The key is tyre management and when you get it right it works well. There is a difference in handling now and when you get it right it is quicker. It is definitely better suited to the car. I’m very happy. »
      
Jean-Felix Bazelin, Dunlop Motorsport Director of Operations : « The LMP2 teams were able to double and triple stint the tyres which was good and the options allowed teams to choose different strategies with no problems. The LMP1 teams were very happy, particularly with the consistency and feel of the tyres. The Aston Martin results were very good and before the race I would have put the actual outcome as somewhere between a dream and hope. The first stint was good for understanding how the car and compound combination worked in race conditions and we progressed up the rankings from there.

« There are always a lot of unknowns for the first race of the year and now we believe that we have good 2016 products with performance improvements. We know that the LMP2 performance is solid and we have multiple stint capability. In the other categories we are learning and it was a very good first race. »

FIA WEC Dunlop 2016 Tyres
LMP1 – Confidential tyre range – full range for all conditions
•Dunlop’s return to LMP1 competition for the first time since 2012
•Two Rebellion Racing cars and one Bykolles Racing Team CLM
•Tyres permitted per 6 hour event: 10 sets plus two single tyres

LMP2 – Set specification (soft, medium, medium-plus, intermediate, wet)
•Open tyre competition
•All 11 Silverstone entries have chosen Dunlop tyres
•Two out of three dry specifications nominated per event
•Soft and medium dry weather options nominated for Silverstone
•Tyres permitted per 6 hour event: 7 sets plus two single tyres

LMGTE Pro – Confidential tyre range – full range for all conditions
•Bespoke product for Aston Martin Racing
Two car entry
•Tyres permitted per 6 hour event: 10 sets plus two single tyres

LMGTE Am – Set specification (soft, medium, medium-plus, intermediate, wet)
•Single car entry
•Specification for full season will be current LMGTE Pro specification
•Tyres permitted per 6 hour event: 10 sets plus two single tyres

James Bailey,

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