The FIA and ACO appear unlikely to introduce a spec tire for the GTE-Pro class, amid recently announced single-supply deals for Le Mans Hypercar and LMP2 beginning next season.
Michelin and Goodyear have been announced as the exclusive suppliers of the respective classes in 2020-21, in what’s understood to be multi-year agreements.
While rumors had placed the FIA and ACO in wanting single-tire suppliers for each of its four classes in the World Endurance Championship, ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil dismissed those reports, stressing that there’s been “no discussion” for such a move in GTE-Pro.
“GT is open but you only have Michelin today,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.
“There’s been no decision or discussion from nowhere that there should be a single supplier in GTE. It’s not the question.”
Michelin Motorsports global director Matthieu Bonardel, who has been a proponent of keeping an open tire formula for the top prototype classes, argued the point against a single provider for GTE-Pro due to the manufacturer affiliations.
“You have manufacturers involved and we have partnerships with Ferrari and Porsche well beyond racing,” Bonardel told Sportscar365.
“Those manufacturers have made it clear they want to work with their partners.
“I don’t know how they would react if they were forced to work with [another] tire [manufacturer]. Factory programs want to work with their strategic supplier.
Bonardel, however, said Michelin would “entertain” the option of GTE-Am becoming a single-tire class to mirror the Am-enforce GTE class in the ELMS.
Goodyear will take over from Dunlop as the spec tire provider in ELMS GTE in 2021.
“On my side, I’m open for GTE-Am to become a control tire. We would always entertain it. Why not? Because it’s not different from Blancpain [GT Series] or any [other customer racing],” Bonardel said.
“But for manufacturers, they say it makes a lot of sense to have the same tire brand between Pro and Am because it’s more efficient.
“At this time I don’t expect Pro or Am to fall into a kind of tender in the very near future but I cannot say whether it will be the case in five or ten years.
“Definitely, the minute factories are out of GTE, then it opens the door for a spec tire, just like ELMS.
“It’s the factory presence in GTE for the reason it’s open.”