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Goodyear Using “Completely New” Tires in Sports Car Return

Goodyear says its brand new tires distance itself from WEC predecessor Dunlop…

Photo: Clement Marin/Goodyear

Goodyear has brought an entirely new tire to the LMP2 ranks of the FIA World Endurance Championship with no carryover from its predecessor and sister brand Dunlop, according to a senior figure at the company.

Mike McGregor, Goodyear’s manager of sales, testing and track support, says that the American tire manufacturer’s WEC involvement shouldn’t be seen as a continuation of Dunlop’s previous activities.

Dunlop still supplies tires in the European Le Mans Series, meaning both brands were represented at the joint event at Silverstone recently.

“This is a completely new evolution of product,” McGregor told Sportscar365. “There’s no compound that’s the same, there’s no construction that’s the same, it’s really a brand new product.

“We’ve got a technical head office center in Akron [Ohio], where the growth and the relationship and support has become stronger and stronger over the years.

“Actually, from us starting the test program again, it was an opportunity for us to ask where we need to be, how aggressive we can be.

“I feel that we’re going into this season in a really aggressive manner, compared to what other people would have considered from previous activities.”

Three of LMP2’s eight full-season entries are using Goodyear tires: the pair of Jota entries (one of which is entered as Jackie Chan DC Racing) and High Class Racing.

Jota’s No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson debuted a new Goodyear livery at Silverstone, while Goodyear also announced a partnership with Brabham prior to the WEC season opener.

McGregor says that announcements like this show Goodyear’s commitment to its restarted sports car racing efforts.

“It’s step by step. We wanted to get the comeback first, we wanted to make sure we do it right,” he said.

“The Jota livery came out, we announced the Brabham partnership, and it’s just showing some of the direction that we want to take.

“When there is any new project, it’s always difficult to persuade people that they’re doing the right thing but we went to the teams and said, ‘This is our test program, this is what we want to do, this is the product we want to bring’.

“We’re benchmarking it against competitor brands to say this is where we need to be, and we’re testing at tracks where we’ve been racing anyway.

“When you go to Sebring and test, you know what the race lap times are from Sebring so it can give you an indication of where you need to be, so that helps give the teams confidence.”

Goodyear Considering “All Aspects” of Sports Car Racing

Since first announcing its LMP2 program in June, Goodyear has been sure to keep its options open for the future, which McGregor says could include programs in all other classes of sports car racing.

“GT, sports cars, endurance racing, it matches very much the body of what we’re trying to do,” he said. “Especially if you look at the ultra high performance road product, you want tires that go faster.

“We’re not saying no to anything right now but we’re not saying yes. We’re looking at the different markets, at the different opportunities, at the different areas, to see which are going to be our key areas of focus.

“We’ll get a few races under our belt as Goodyear now, and then see where it takes us.

“We wouldn’t come back into sports car racing if we’re not considering all aspects of it, but we don’t want to say right now that there’s a specific area of focus.”

Goodyear’s motorsport director Ben Crawley previously told Sportscar365 that Hypercar is of interest for the brand, and that it ‘absolutely wants to expand’ its WEC presence.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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