This weekend marks the beginning of the 2021 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season and Goodyear is ready to kick off its second term as exclusive tyre supplier to the world’s top level of petrol-powered touring car racing. To make it even more exciting, the season starts at one of the toughest venues in motorsport: the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Goodyear joined WTCR last year, providing every team and driver with one dry and one wet specification of the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport race tyre designed specifically for the 360 hp touring car racers. Building on its relationship with series promoter Eurosport Events, Goodyear’s arrival in the championship was also marked with the #FollowTheLeader campaign, which is renewed for the 2021 season.
The WTCR field this year includes 22 full-season drivers representing 12 different nationalities. During the course of the season, WTCR will visit eight circuits, each with their own set of challenges.
Sebastian Trinks, Goodyear’s Event Leader for WTCR and PURE ETCR, is looking forward to another exciting season. “With two new models from Audi and Hyundai joining the proven machines from Lynk & Co, CUPRA and Honda, we expect WTCR to be more competitive than ever. There are some really experienced drivers joining the grid, too, including six FIA world title winners. That means the fight for the championship should be even closer than it was last year.”
This weekend’s contest at the 25 km Nürburgring Nordschleife will be followed by rounds at premium autodromes such as Estoril, Portugal; Aragón, Spain and Hungaroring, Hungary. Italy’s Adria Raceway will make its debut on the WTCR calendar in the summer, too. The season finishes with an Asian leg, featuring races at Inje Speedium, South Korea; Ningbo, China; and the thrilling Guia street circuit in Macau. With just one slick tyre compound for the whole season, Goodyear was tasked with developing a highly versatile specification that excels in a wide range of weather conditions and on vastly different circuits.
“We agreed with the teams and Eurosport Events to keep the same tyre specification as last year,” Trinks adds. “This supports teams with cost savings because they can use their data from last year for tyre testing and don’t need to learn a new tyre again. We received very positive feedback from teams and drivers about the tyre performance in 2020 so we’re confident that we’re providing them with the right product for a challenging and competitive season ahead. We’re particularly excited for the renewal of Goodyear #FollowTheLeader, which recognises the driver in the lead of the standings with a windshield strip and jacket.”
The unpredictability of weather conditions at the Nürburgring will be the main challenge this weekend, according to Trinks. “The weather at the Nürburgring can change very quickly during the course of a single lap, so you can start the race in dry conditions and end up in the rain on the other side of the track. The forecast looks quite dry with ambient temperatures around 20-22°C, so weather conditions should be quite stable this time, but it’s always unpredictable. This will be the biggest challenge for teams this weekend.”
On-track action at the Nürburgring begins on Thursday, and the two races are scheduled for Saturday morning, each lasting for three laps (76 km). The weekend is shared with the ADAC TOTAL 24h Race, in which every TCR car, amongst dozens of other cars, will also race on Goodyear tyres.