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ELMS Preview: Goodyear Set for Another Season of European Endurance Racing

The European Le Mans Series (ELMS) is back for another thrilling season of flat-out endurance racing. Goodyear looks forward to this weekend’s race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya which kicks off a six-round calendar that visits some of the finest motorsport venues in Europe, including a double-header season finale in Portimao.

Goodyear is proud to exclusively supply tyres to two of the three ELMS categories: LMP2 and LMGTE, making up 30 of the 42 full-season entrants. Goodyear has been the exclusive supplier to the LMP2 class since 2021 and LMGTE since 2020. From next season, LMGTE will be replaced by the much anticipated new LMGT3 class in the World Endurance Championship, for which Goodyear will also be the sole tyre supplier.

The championship is set to visit some of Europe’s most iconic tracks, each hosting a four-hour race. The first round in Barcelona on 23rd April will use the track’s classic layout, with the final chicane removed for an exhilarating high-speed end to the lap.

After a break for Le Mans, in which many of the ELMS LMP2 class compete, the championship will move onto Le Castellet, France, and new addition Aragon, Spain, which will be a twilight race. Drivers will need to navigate the fading light as they race for glory on this highly technical circuit.

The season then heads to Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, before concluding with a double-header in Portimao, Portugal, on 22nd October.

“The championship is exceptional for how it packs in so much variety,” explains Mike McGregor, Endurance Program Manager, Goodyear Racing. “The tracks offer huge variety, from the high speeds of Le Castellet to the return of the classic Barcelona layout which will increase average speeds and improve racing.”

Tyre warmers removed from 2023

Like in the FIA World Endurance Championship, tyre warmers have been removed from ELMS this year. This will bring more strategic opportunities, as well as help the championship push forward with its sustainability targets.

“New tyre rules will add another layer of strategic complexity which will spice up the racing and challenge even the most experienced of drivers,” adds McGregor. “It’s an exciting new challenge for drivers and teams to get a handle on. We predict it’s likely to mix up the field from race to race and increase strategic opportunities for the teams that learn how to manage the tyres early on.

“Managing the surface of the tyre will be more important during the opening laps, and with the total allocation unchanged since last year, the first few laps of tyre warm-up will be crucial, as this has a huge impact on tyre pressure and, ultimately, how much grip a driver feels. During races, the overcut will be more powerful, as too will be extending stints to decrease the number of pit stops needed.”