Dunlop Endurance: Why Dunlop goes Endurance Racing

© DR

Dunlop’s endurance racing history goes back a long way – back to the first ever Le Mans in 1923. Since then Dunlop has provided tyres to 34 winners and countless class winners and podium finishers.

Endurance racing pushes Dunlop’s level of tyre development and results in the introduction of new technologies that cascade to other forms of racing and to road tyres bought by consumers. Racing is a platform for new materials, technologies and a higher level of performance and durability.

Only by testing the construction methods and compounds over countless kilometres in every condition can Dunlop be sure that a solution is good enough to bring confidence to drivers on the road. High performance road car drivers know that their Dunlop tyres were developed in competition and can work in the extreme conditions of race tracks around the world.

Dunlop’s engineers are pushed by the competition in endurance racing – the need to have a durable tyre capable of multiple stints to save valuable time in the pits. To give context – in Formula One stints typically are a maximum of 165km – Dunlop’s LMP2 tyres reached distances of 763km in 2017 – that’s endurance style durability! What’s more, twelve mechanics take as little as two seconds to change all four tyres. In endurance racing mechanics are limited to three per stop, so not needing to change tyres when the car comes in to refuel can save as much as 30 seconds each time. Last year Signatech Alpine came second by two minutes and 40 seconds – so reducing pit stop time can really make or break a race. Dunlop engineer Tim Gibson’s call to quadruple stint at the end of the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours brought victory for Jota Sport, with the fastest lap of the race being set on that fourth stint. Similarly, Joao Coelho’s suggestion to the Audi team that won last month’s Nürburgring 24 Hours gave him the win over his fellow engineer – internal rivalry can be a big driver too.

Dunlop’s operations Director, Jean-Felix Bazelin, explains more above.

The Le Mans 24 Hours starts at 3pm CEST on Saturday 17th June.

James Bailey,