Goodyear to Supply 26 Cars at European Le Mans Series Season Opener

Goodyear’s exclusive supply of the LMP2 category begins at this weekend’s opening round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), where two of three classes will be exclusively using Goodyear tyres in an immensely competitive field.

The 4 Hours of Barcelona opens this year’s European Le Mans Series campaign in earnest, before subsequent endurance races at Red Bull Ring (Austria), Le Castellet (France), Monza (Italy), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), and Portimao (Portugal). A packed entry list with world-class teams and drivers is sure to create an exciting spectacle on television screens across Europe and the world.

Last year, Goodyear supplied tyres to every car in LMGTE and several LMP2 teams. This year, Goodyear is the exclusive supplier to both categories, as well as the LMP2 class in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and 24 Hours of Le Mans. In ELMS, LMP2 is the top class fighting for the overall victory – and with 16 cars representing 13 teams this weekend, the battle is sure to be a hard-fought one.

At Barcelona, LMP2 teams will have access to Goodyear’s A (soft) and C (medium-plus) slick compounds, as well as intermediate and wet tyres in case of rainfall. From the second round onwards, the C-spec tyre will be used to ensure parity between ELMS and WEC, which becomes crucial for the several ELMS teams also taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Mike McGregor, Goodyear’s Endurance Programme Manager, explains: “We can expect Barcelona to show some of the fastest LMP2 pace of the season because teams can use their high-downforce setups and A-spec tyre here. From the second round onwards, and in every WEC race, teams will carry the Le Mans style aero kit, which reduces cornering speed but helps with straight-line pace. The races at Le Castellet and Monza will therefore be highly entertaining, because of their fast corners and long straights. This weekend at Barcelona, the additional downforce will increase cornering speed, which is why the softer A spec tyre will be a popular choice.”

All-new tyres in LMGTE

The highly competitive LMGTE class features race-prepared supercars from prestigious brands like Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin, and an entry list to match. All nine cars will benefit from a brand-new range of Goodyear tyres, including two slick specs, an intermediate and a full wet tyre.

McGregor adds: “The level of the LMGTE class keeps improving every year. We’ve brought an entirely new range for 2021, giving each team A (soft) and B (medium) slick tyres. The softer A compound is designed to be suitable at every track on the calendar in cooler conditions. The intermediate and wet tyres are also brand-new, with new patterns, construction and compounds.”

With nine cars in LMGTE, 16 in LMP2 and the special adapted LMP2 car for Association SRT41’s team of disabled drivers, Goodyear has a wide variety of partner teams this year. An operation of this scale requires a larger presence at the track, as McGregor explains:

“We have brought a lot more trucks, a lot more staff, and, of course, a lot more tyres to Barcelona than last year’s ELMS races. We have 14 engineers working in the pitlane, so one for every two cars. The overall level of support has therefore increased alongside the size of the operation. The level of competition keeps rising in ELMS, which is shown in the driver lineups in LMP2 and LMGTE. We’re excited for the season ahead and to work with some of Europe’s best endurance racing teams.”

The entry list includes leading prototype teams like Panis Racing, IDEC Sport, G-Drive Racing, DragonSpeed and reigning champions United Autosports, to name but a few. Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica is among the star drivers, racing with Team WRT. In LMGTE, the likes of AF Corse, TF Sport, JMW Motorsport and Proton Competition are among the competing teams, with GT racing stars Gianmaria Bruni, Miguel Molina and Richard Lietz on the cast list.S