Goodyear has announced that it will re-enter European and International sportscar racing by developing a new range of tires for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the Le Mans 24-hour race.
The FIA World Endurance Championship features long-distance races on four continents with the Le Mans season finale, a race which Goodyear-equipped cars have won on 14 occasions.
Goodyear has chosen sportscar racing for the first step of its World Championship racing comeback as it provides a strong platform for demonstrating tire technologies on a wide range of different prototype and GT cars, as Motorsport Director, Ben Crawley, explains: « The nature of the races (varying from 4 hours to 24 hours) mean tire choice and strategy are critical and it provides a motivating challenge for our technology team in our European innovation centers ahead of exploring other racing opportunities for the brand. »
Goodyear has been developing a new range of tires for Le Mans Prototypes for over a year at their innovation centers in Hanau (Germany) and Colmar-Berg (Luxembourg). The tires will be developed and manufactured alongside Goodyear’s latest range of Eagle F1 SuperSport tires for performance and track-day cars, ensuring that the technology and knowledge transfer between the road and race ranges is optimized to benefit the performance of both. The tires will debut at the start of the 2019/2020 WEC season at Silverstone in August.
This comeback marks the return of the famous brand to global sportscar racing at one of racing’s most iconic venues. With over 250,000 attendees, Le Mans is one of the largest single attendance sporting events in the world. « Motorsport continues to be one of the most popular global sports, » Crawley continued. « It is an ideal platform for us to engage with consumers around the heritage, passion, innovation and technology that make up Goodyear’s story in racing. »
« We will focus on sportscar racing at first, before applying learnings to other categories of racing, which could be within the endurance arena or in other racing series » added Crawley.
Goodyear has a proud history in motorsport. In addition to the 14 wins in the Le Mans 24 hours, Goodyear tires were used to win 368 Formula One Grand Prix – a record that stands unbeaten. Goodyear also have considerable sportscar racing experience after decades of success in American IMSA racing.