European Le Mans Series: Italy hosts second 2016 battle

© DR

The European Le Mans Series (ELMS) holds its second round of the 2016 season in Italy on 15th April. The Imola race follows one of the most closely fought ELMS tyre wars in recent times at Silverstone in April.

The opening round resulted in a Dunlop-filled podium after strong performances from the competition with three different manufacturers represented (Gibson, BR01 and Ligier).

G-Drive Racing won the event in the Gibson-Nissan by a 95 second margin. Mathias Beche set the fastest time of the event in the second practice session with 1:49.320 in the Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca-Nissan, the very cold conditions prevented teams from bettering 2015 performances. In the LMGTE all-Dunlop class,  competition was also strong with seven lead changes throughout the race between four teams.

Dunlop is allocating the soft and medium tyre options for the top-class LMP2 cars, as used at Silverstone. The tyres performed well with teams able to triple stint. Imola is one of the lowest energy circuits and, with the improved operating window and durability of the 2016 tyre range, teams will have a range of strategy options available to them.  Strategies could prove critical given the high level of competition from both Dunlop-shod and competitor teams. LMGTE teams have the standard medium and medium-plus dry weather options available.
Mike McGregor, Dunlop Manager Testing & Track Support : « Silverstone’s overall podium clean sweep was a great result for Dunlop as the competition is much stronger this year. It’s a very interesting season with two of our strongest drivers from 2015 now competing against us. The first race was unlucky for some of our teams who have shown very good performance in testing and we could see a completely different top-three this weekend.

“We will be allocating the same tyres for Imola as we used at Silverstone where they showed good performance that saw triple stinting. Imola should be a great place to see some fantastic racing in the LMGTE class too given that performance levels are increasing and last year the top five all finished within 20 seconds after the four hours of racing. »      

Dunlop ELMS 2016 Tyres
LMP2 – Set specification (soft, medium, medium-plus, intermediate, wet)
•Open tyre competition – 14 cars competing
•10 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 4 hour event: 5 sets plus two single tyres
The LMP2 range is the same new range that features in WEC. The different conditions of Europe, generally cooler, combined with the improved operating windows, will tend to favour the soft and medium options in ELMS.

LMGTE – All-Dunlop class (medium, medium-plus, intermediate, wet)
•Controlled/single brand tyres for all three manufacturers represented
•Tyres permitted per 4 hour event: unlimited
•Intermediate tyre introduced for 2016
•2016 confidential tyre range – supervised use with greater performance
The ELMS LMGTE Pro range is all-new for 2016, designed specifically for ELMS with improvement emphasis on performance and consistency. The introduction of Dunlop’s intermediate tyre will reduce team costs and add strategy options during races with mixed weather conditions.

The European Le Mans Series Imola 4 Hours starts at 14.00 CEST on Sunday 15th May.

James Bailey,