Goodyear will bring their 2019/20 FIA WEC LMP2 tyres to the European Le Mans Series in 2020, bringing an end, for now at least, to the Dunlop brand in ACO rules racing for the first time in decades.
The move follows the launch into the WEC from Goodyear for the current season, Goodyear Dunlop opting to focus on their parent brand in international endurance racing.
Goodyear have no little endurance racing heritage already with 14 overall wins at Le Mans and are moving now to add racing success with a new range of Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport LMP2 tyres. That switch has thus far seen podium finishes and a pole position (Fuji) in the first two races.
The current one-make GTE tyre for ELMS will also switch from the current Dunlops to another new range of Goodyear rubber.
Several teams will be testing the new Goodyear rubber in a three-day test at Portimao starting this morning.
Ben Crawley, Director, Goodyear Racing, explains: “Goodyear is an industry leader in developing ultra-high-performance tyres for sports cars. Our WEC comeback applies our knowledge and technology in one of the most demanding championships in racing. To extend this development to ELMS means we get to work with a wider range of cars, teams and drivers as well as showcase the Goodyear brand at some of Europe’s most prestigious circuits”
“The LMGTE category fits perfectly with Goodyear’s recent launch of the Eagle F1 SuperSport road-legal tyre. The ultimate version of this range, the Eagle F1 SuperSport RS has been homologated for the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and GT3 RS, and sizes are also being developed to fit models from other premium sports car manufacturers. In ELMS, we will supply a tyre range that offers the performance, parity, consistency and durability needed for a diverse range of cars.”
Gérard Neveu, ELMS CEO: “Goodyear is one of the iconic names in Motorsport. With fourteen 24 Hours of Le Mans victories, they bring vast experience as well as their prestige, investment and technology to the European Le Mans Series. We are proud that Goodyear has chosen WEC and ELMS to headline their return to international sportscar racing.”
The news raises inevitable questions over the iconic Dunlop Bridge at Le Mans circuit, a feature of the circuit since the first running of the Le Mans 24 Hours back in 1923.
There has been no statement around the future of the fan-favourite landmark a point worth noting is that just about every other race at the track will still feature Dunlop-shod entries in motorcycle and historic racing action, both of which look set to remain key Dunlop target markets.