FIM EWC - Dunlop’s team is full of racing passion.
The 8 hours of Oschersleben is the penultimate round of the 2018-2019 season, Dunlop head into the race hoping they can help one of their partner teams win the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) team championship.
The current EWC class leaders, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team race with a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 on Dunlop tyres. They lead the championship by 10 points and a win at the Oschersleben Motopark will all but secure the championship.
Dunlop is proud to have experts with racing passion and personal experience in the team. They truly understand the mindset of riders and teams, one such member of the team with competition history is Wim Van Achter, Dunlop’s Motorsport Manager.
Wim has first-hand experience of racing in the EWC, having competed from the early ’90s until mid ‘00’s when tyre technology was very different to present day. His knowledge has been valuable in Dunlop’s development and providing a rider's perspective.
Wim Van Achter said: “The big difference was a big gap between manufacturers and privateer teams in terms of tyre preparations but nowadays there are very little differences, most privateer teams are very close to manufacturer teams. The main tyre challenges are constant grip level, managing drop in performance when double stinting, durability, performance and the tyre reaction to different engines."
Dunlop has used the EWC as a development ground to produce tyres that can withstand the pressures of changing temperatures and extreme loads. These properties can be translated to the road.
The development of tyre technology is vital in giving the rider confidence and the ability to challenge for victories.
Wim explains: “A major technological advancement was the introduction of the NTEC technology - pressure adjustment system. This technology is used across Dunlop’s motorcycle racing involvement. The development of the jointless belt technology (JLB) makes the tyre more stable during braking especially as the bikes are getting faster and faster, putting more stress on the brakes. In EWC the bikes are heavier than Superbikes mainly due to their fuel load, so braking stability is really important.”
The NTEC and JLB have been developed to reduce wear and improve handling, the NTEC is a highly reinforced casing construction, whereas the JLB is a continuously wound belt that fits around the tyre casing.
Having raced as a rider in the EWC, Wim can provide an insight into the demands of endurance racing.
“The races are physically very tough, with changing conditions. I competed in the Le Mans for the first time in 1992 with very little in the way of technical clothing, nowadays riders are equipped with the latest technology. The standard bikes raced by the privateers have improved over the years, they are now very similar to the manufacturer-entered bikes.”
The first official tests on the Oschersleben circuit will take place on Thursday 6 June evening with a night session, followed by free practice and first qualifying on Friday 7 June.
The 8 Hours of Oschersleben will start at 1 pm CEST on Sunday 9 June.
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