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Tire Management Key to Victories in LMP2, GTE-Pro

JOTA, AF Corse capitalize on tire management to score class wins in Shanghai…

Photo: Clement Marin/Goodyear

Tire management was the key to success in LMP2 and GTE-Pro in Sunday’s 4 Hours of Shanghai according to the class-winning JOTA and AF Corse squads.

The No. 38 JOTA Oreca 07 Gibson of Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez scored a commanding victory in LMP2, leading a 1-2 finish for Goodyear, which earned its first WEC win.

“We had good speed in the tires I think tire management was most critical in LMP2 for some reason today,” said Davidson, who has now claimed WEC wins with three different teams.

“The drop was huge, five or six seconds, from new to old [tires], which is obviously really challenging for Silver and Bronze drivers out there. 

“I could use my experience that just not push the tire that hard to minimize the speed in the high-speed corners.

“I know this track very well, so the high-speed corners like like Turn 7 and Turn 8 to just reduce the speed and not overstress the tire, was real key.

“To do all that without input from engineers like we see so often in Formula 1 for example is a huge skill from a driver and it was nice to do it and I enjoyed doing it all by myself.”

AF Corse’s Alessandro Pier Guidi took over the GTE-Pro class lead in the final hour after a puncture for the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marco Sorensen, who along with Nicki Thiim, had dominated the race up until that point.

Despite being in a different class and on Michelin tires, the Italian echoed Davidson’s comments.

“It was all about tire management,” Pier Guidi said. “I was in the lead after the issue for the Aston and just managed the gap and managed the tires. 

“It was a good stint in managing the gap. The team did a great job with the tire strategy.”

Pier Guidi’s co-driver James Calado said the drop-off in GTE-Pro was around four seconds from the first lap to the end of the stint, due to the abrasive nature of Shanghai International Circuit.

“You have to be patient but it’s difficult because all you want to do is race and overtake but you have to back off and that is the quickest way to do the stint,” he explained.

“It is the first win for Ferrari at Shanghai and honestly we didn’t expect it. 

“My first two stints were pretty good and obviously we took from the misfortune of the Aston Martin but that is motorsport and it has happened to us before.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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