At the toughest GT and touring car race of the year on the world’s longest and most demanding race track, many top teams have chosen to rely on Goodyear.
The 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (September 24th – 27th) is a huge event for Goodyear’s racing service, in which a vast array of vehicles are supplied with racing tyres, from overall winner candidates to ambitious privateers. At the front of the field is the Ferrari 488 GT3 from the Swiss Octane 126 team. The driver combination of Björn Grossmann, Simon Trummer, Jonathan Hirschi and Luca Ludwig is a contender for the top positions after top performances in the preparatory races. But high profile drivers such as German rap star Smudo from the Fantastischen Vier (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup II) or Carlos Antunes Tavares, the CEO of the PSA Group (Opel Astra Cup) trust Goodyear for their 24-hour ambitions.
Overall, well over 3,000 Goodyear tyres will be prepared to provide the Goodyear customers with optimal performance in all conditions. There are over 100 vehicles on the entry list for the 24-hour race this year, and the leading group in particular is extremely strong.
A good third of the teams fight for the coveted trophy in the top classes – and many of them rely on Goodyear. The most promising candidate for a top place is the Ferrari 488 GT3 from Octane 126. « After the successful preparation we are very confident that we will build on this good performance, » says Luca Ludwig. « In preparation, we worked intensively with Goodyear and found many factors that have a positive effect. The Ferrari and the Goodyear tyres now work really well together.
« The Ferrari with starting number # 26 could thus become one of the surprise contenders at the long-distance classic on the Nordschleife. « Of course there are many factors that cannot be calculated in advance – especially not on the Nordschleife, » says Ludwig. « The conditions this year are even more demanding than in the past. By moving to September, we now drive eleven hours in the dark, plus the unique track layout and then perhaps also changing weather: many colleagues agree that this is the toughest race in the world. But we are tackling the challenge together with Goodyear and are well positioned. »
Goodyear team makes direct entry into top qualifying
The Octane126-Ferrari # 26 has already made it into the decisive Top Qualifying Group 2, which guarantees a leading start position, while the Pro-Am line-up of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 from Car Collection (# 7), IronForce Racing / EFP Car Collection (# 11) and RacIng – Powered by HFG / Racing Engineers (# 15) still have to fight for one of the four remaining places. Like the Hella Pagid Ferrari 488 GT3 with # 16, they first have to succeed in the TQ1.
Goodyear develops tyres a wide range of diverse cars from GT3 to TCR touring cars: « In the 24h race, we equip a total of 17 different vehicle models with our racing tyres and they are optimised for all track conditions », describes Alexander Kühn, Car Motorsport Product Manager EMEA. « The 24-hour race is a mammoth task for us too, because racing on the Nordschleife is always associated with many surprises. »
The experts in the Goodyear racing service can fall back on more than 50 different specifications for the different vehicle types and racing classes. In the eleven Goodyear trucks, there are tyre variants for monsoon-like rain as well as slicks for high summer temperatures. « That is of course what makes this race so appealing, » describes Kühn. « We look forward to this challenge. »
Hyundai works team drives day and night on Goodyear
And not only the participants in the GT3 class can rely on the perfect racing performance of their Goodyear tyres. Tyres with the ‘wingfoot’ symbol are mounted across the field and through all vehicle classes. This includes, for example, all BMW M240i Racing or participants in the TCR class. The latter benefit from Goodyear’s international motorsport commitment, because the tyre manufacturer is also the exclusive supplier of the World Touring Car Cup (FIA WTCR). That means a double effort in the 24h race, because the highest international touring car series will hold its two German races at the Nürburgring on the 24h weekend. TCR racing cars also compete in the 24-hour race. Among them are two factory Hyundai with a strong driver line-up. Manuel Lauck, Moritz Oestreich, Peter Terting and Mac Basseng drive a Hyundai Veloster TCR (# 830) through day and night, Luca Engstler, Harald Proczyk, Antti Buri and double starter Manuel Lauck go on the hunt for the class win with a Hyundai i30 N.
Smudo in the sustainable Bioconcept nine-eleven
The two Porsches that the Four Motors team has entered for ex-DTM driver Thomas von Löwis and German rapper Smudo are probably among the most unusual projects of the race weekend. With “green” high-tech, the team wants to show that sustainability and motorsport can be combined. The team uses E20 fuel made from bio-waste, re-refined high-performance lubricants and lightweight components made from bio-fiber composites. « We are using it to present technologies that, if used in normal road traffic, would have huge potential for saving CO2, » explains von Löwis. Motorsport not only serves as a platform for presentations, it is also a field of development. « Together with Goodyear, we are striving to take steps towards greater sustainability in the tire sector too, » says von Löwis. « The team already has acheieved three stints with a single set of tyres in the GT3 Porsche, proving the sustainability and durability of the tyres. »
Le Mans: Double podium celebration
The 24-hour race on the Nordschleife is the second long-distance classic that the motorsport experts from Goodyear will have attacked within a few days. Because one week before the start in the Eifel, the most important long-distance race for sports prototypes and GT took place in Le Mans – with very successful teams racing on Goodyear. In the highly competitive LMP2 category, two teams who trusted Goodyear finished on the podium.