ERJ staff report (TB)
Birmingham, UK -- Dunlop Motorsport is exiting the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) to concentrate on supplying teams in European endurance racing, particularly the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and FIA World Endurance Championship, the Goodyear Dunlop Tyres business unit said this week.
In announcing the change, Dunlop Motorsport General Manager Jean-Felix Bazelin reflected on four "fantastic" years in the ALMS, particularly winning both the LMP1 and GT championships in 2011 and winning races in all three open classes this year.
"It is a fantastic, highly competitive championship and we are incredibly proud of our successes," Brazelin said. "However, with an increased calendar in North America clashing with several of the other major international championships where we compete, we have had to make choices.
"I thank our American Le Mans teams and IMSA for their support over the last four years. Their recent merger with Grand-Am is a positive step towards building an even stronger championship and we wish them well," he added.
In Europe, Dunlop will concentrate on developing tyres for LMP1, LMP2 and GT categories of the European Le Mans Series and the WEC, as well as for its partner teams in the VLN Nurburgring (Germany) endurance series and other racing series.
"Whilst we are excited about the growth of Le Mans-type racing around the world," Brazelin said. "Europe is the heartland for the majority of teams and chassis manufacturers in this category of racing.
"In 2012, we developed class-winning tyres in LMP1 with Dyson-Lola, LMP2 with a variety of diverse chassis, GT with BMW and JMW-Ferrari in Le Mans Series events and with AMG at the Nurburgring," he continued. "This has given us a strong basis to continue the proactive and intensive development needed to win in these open and highly competitive championships. We relish the challenge of raising the bar again in 2013."
Being active in European endurance racing also means competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance classic in France, where Dunlop is the most successful tyre manufacturer in the history of the race, with 34 overall wins and back-to-back LMP2 wins in the last two years.
"The European Le Mans Series offered fans some thrilling racing in 2012, particularly in the LMP2 category," Brazelin said. "It was great to be part of this, and as the championship regroups and relaunches we are firmly committed to being part of its revitalisation in 2013 and beyond.
"We also see an exciting future for the FIA World Endurance Championship. However, it is important that all stakeholders work together to ensure that there is sustainable growth for this championship." added Bazelin.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)