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Learning Goodyear Tire “Biggest Challenge” for JOTA Drivers

Anthony Davidson on adapting to Goodyear tire with JOTA squad…

Photo: Anthony Davidson

Learning the Goodyear tire has been a bigger challenge for the JOTA drivers rather than the team during this season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, according to Anthony Davidson.

Davidson and co-driver Roberto Gonzalez were the only pairing to switch from Michelin rubber to Goodyear when they moved from DragonSpeed’s Oreca 07 Gibson to a JOTA-run Oreca this season alongside Antonio Felix da Costa.

While they have spent the first rounds adapting to the Goodyear tire, the trio has already found success, winning the LMP2 class last time out at the 4 Hours of Shanghai.

Davidson says he and his co-drivers have had the most learning to do coming from Michelin backgrounds rather than the team due to the similarities between the Dunlop and Goodyear.

“JOTA were running the Dunlop in the past and although it’s been a brand change and the technology has changed a bit, I think fundamentally it’s still the same philosophy behind the make-up of the tire,” Davidson told Sportscar365.

“The team understood maybe better than most teams how to work with the Goodyear and I think the biggest challenge for me, I’ve driven Michelin my whole time in sports cars and they always have a similar kind of feel.

“No matter what category you’re in they all react the same way and you can drive them the same way.

“So for me, I’m still adapting to learning this tire and I feel like in Shanghai I was definitely on top of it, but every circuit has a different challenge.

“It’s probably the biggest challenge is the drivers learning the tire, not the team.”

JOTA Carrying Momentum after Shanghai Win

Expanding on their victory in China, Davidson attributed the success down to a largely faultless race for the British squad.

“Yeah it’s good, I feel like we do have some momentum,” enthused Davidson.

“We’re understanding the tire more as drivers and as a team and we’re all starting to work well together.

“We had a good solid race in Shanghai, no problems, and it’s like we always say if you don’t have any problems you’re almost guaranteed a podium in this category.

“It all just came together and the tire was working well, especially at the start of the race and the car had a good balance from the moment we put it on the track.

“We didn’t really have to change the balance of the car so much and that really puts you in a good way for the rest of the weekend.

“As drivers, we just adapted around the big degradation we were seeing and just perfected things rather than making drastic changes to the car which always puts you on the back foot.”

Davidson arrives in Bahrain, which last hosted a WEC round in 2017, as the reigning LMP1 race winner with Toyota and also claimed the world championship in 2014 with the Japanese manufacturer at the same venue.

“I’m looking forward to driving here,” he said. “Hopefully the car is good and the tire works well and then I think we’ll be in with a shout come race day.”

Slade Perrins is an Australian-based junior reporter for Sportscar365. Perrins won the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars 'Young Gun Award' for journalism for his work with speedcafe.com.

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