Dunlop preparing to build on 2016 World Championship success
- FIA World Endurance Trophy winning Aston Martin Vantage showcased at Geneva Motor Show
- Dunlop chosen by the winners of three classes in 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship
- Intensive test program for 2017 began before 2016 season finished
Geneva, Switzerland, 7 March 2017 – Dunlop is celebrating its 2016 successes by showcasing the triumphant FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Aston Martin Vantage GTE on its Geneva Motor Show stand.
In its first season working with Dunlop’s Motorsport team, Aston Martin Racing claimed two titles in the WEC. Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen won the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers and the team secured the FIA World Endurance Trophy for GTE Pro Teams in 2016.
Aston Martin had made the decision to switch its tire partnership to Dunlop to try and gain a competitive advantage against the new Ford GT team and the established Ferrari and Porsche endurance teams.
Aston Martin Team Principal, Paul Howarth, explained the switch has been a key factor in the team’s successes and consistency in 2016: “Dunlop has been exemplary, they supply us permanent engineers, and they do in-depth analysis after every race and test. We have an open phone line with them, it’s non-stop. I’ve worked with all the major tire companies with test programs and when you start to build a relationship there are stumbling blocks, but not with Dunlop.”
Xavier Fraipont, Managing Director, Motorcycle and Motorsport EMEA stated that the focus switched to 2017 very early: “To win both titles with Aston Martin Racing in the first year of our partnership was a proud achievement, but we only had a short time to celebrate, as we restarted our testing program for 2017 the day after the final championship winning race.”
Dunlop was also chosen by the FIA World Endurance Championship winners in LMP1 Privateer (Rebellion) and LMP2 (Alpine). In these prototype classes, Dunlop expects huge leaps forward in performance in 2017 with new LMP2 regulations creating more powerful cars with additional downforce. This has created new challenges for tire manufacturers in a championship where durability and consistency are the prime factors in winning.
Dunlop has been testing in Sakhir (Bahrain), Sebring (USA), Aragon (Spain) and Paul Ricard (France) since the end of the 2016 season. On latest LMP2 cars, the combination of the new rules and a brand new Dunlop tire specification has seen lap times that are close to the pace of the highly advanced front running LMP1 cars from just four seasons ago.
The FIA World Endurance Championship season begins at Silverstone (UK) on April 16th.