Even with the near monopoly that Continental Tires has on the TUDOR series, it appears as if there is still interest from new tire manufacturers to join the party. The only place that the series offers open tire competition is the GTLM class and according to what we are hearing, Toyo Tires is actively looking into the possibility of entering the class.
Testing has been taking place with a current IMSA/TUDOR entrant with a GT3 spec car, giving Toyo the opportunity learn and evaluate their options.
Currently the GTLM class is the where Michelin supplies the majority of the competitors, while Falken Tires also is a current TUDOR competitor with their Team Falken Tire Porsche. A long time supporter of sportscar racing in North America, Michelin is known to be a supporter of open competition and in fact welcomes the opportunity to for someone else to compete against.
Chris Baker, Michelin North America’s director of motorsports stated, “Michelin is a longtime supporter of open competition. We welcome competitors and more open competition in the TUDOR Championship.”
Michelin, which was a long time partner in the ALMS and a dominant presence in that series was known to be quite frustrated at not being allowed to compete in the other classes when the dust settled when that series merged with the Grand Am.
Obviously it is early in the Toyo development program and nobody at this time is willing to confirm anything, it is an interesting development and also a welcome indication that the TUDOR series has some potential in reaching new partners, even in their most competitive class.
Toyo last competed as a major presence in North America when they were the spec tire in the SCCA World Challenge.
(pic below from 2010)
Gary Horrocks & Marshall Pruett