Goodyear is set to return to international sportscar racing and will soon debut a new range of tires for the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Goodyear will therefore go toe-to-toe with Michelin from the 2019/20 season onwards, which includes next year’s 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Its initial target is LMP2, however the company is known to have been in conversation with teams in other classes.
RACER understands that Dunlop (owned and operated by Goodyear in Europe and elsewhere) will step back from supplying tires for the WEC and instead focus solely on its European Le Mans Series effort, where it supplies rubber in both LMP2 and GTE.
In preparation for this move, Goodyear has been developing a new range of sportscar tires at its facilities in Hanau, Germany, and at Colmar-Berg in Luxembourg.
“The nature of the races (varying from 4 hours to 24 hours) means tire choice and strategy are critical, and that provides a motivating challenge for the technology teams in our European innovation centers ahead of exploring other racing opportunities for the brand,” said Goodyear’s motorsport director Ben Crawley.
Goodyear has a long history of competing in sportscars, supplying tires in IMSA for several decades. The brand has 14 Le Mans wins, the most recent being in 1997, when it supplied Joest Racing’s No. 7 TWR Porsche.
“Motorsport continues to be one of the most popular global sports,” Crawley continued. “It is an ideal platform for us to engage with consumers around the heritage, passion, innovation and technology that make up Goodyear’s story in racing.”
“We will focus on sportscar racing at first, before applying learnings to other categories of racing, which could be within the endurance arena or in other racing series.”