Goodyear ready for WEC’s debut at Italy’s ‘Temple of Speed’
- FIA World Endurance Championship back in action
- Goodyear looks ahead to historic Italian circuit of Monza
- Wet and intermediate tyres could come into play
This weekend, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will race in Italy for the first time. Goodyear is ready for the challenge of Monza, one of the most iconic and demanding high-speed tracks in the world.
So far this season, Goodyear’s LMP2 teams have raced at the 6 Hours of Spa and 8 Hours of Portimao, gathering valuable data ahead of next month’s centrepiece, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As well as a crucial round in the WEC season, this weekend’s 6 Hours of Monza is another stage in the ongoing preparation for the French endurance classic.
As the exclusive tyre supplier to the category, all 12 LMP2 cars racing at Monza will use Goodyear tyres. Mike McGregor, Goodyear’s Endurance Programme Manager, expects the race to provide a new set of challenges to teams and drivers, but he’s confident that Goodyear’s range of tyres will be well-suited to the conditions.
“So far this season, we’ve seen two extremes of track conditions,” McGregor explains. “At Spa, we had a cold and aggressive track, and at Portimao, it was much smoother and hotter with the new surface there. The tyres have been through two extremes, and we can see that the operating window, especially of the single slick spec, is wide. Monza has big, long straights leading into tight corners that are good preparation for Le Mans. By the end of a long straight, tyre temperatures have dropped, and then they have high load going through them with braking into the chicane, the long right-handed Parabolica, or corners like Lesmo 1 and 2. Drawing the similarities between these parts of the Monza track, and the Mulsanne Straight and its chicanes at Le Mans, really helps our understanding ahead of next month.
“We have enjoyed some really exciting racing so far in 2021. At Portimao, after eight hours of racing, the top two LMP2 cars finished less than five seconds apart after an overtake from Antonio Felix da Costa on Tom Blomqvist. To have this level of competition is always a great thing for WEC, and we’re looking forward to another thrilling battle on Sunday.”
ELMS race at Monza adds to preparation
Last weekend, McGregor and his team were already in action at Monza, supplying the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) race there. As well as being sole tyre supplier to the ELMS’ LMP2 class, Goodyear also provides tyres to every team in the LMGTE class, meaning two-thirds of the grid race with Goodyear. By racing at the same track just seven days before the WEC race, Goodyear has been able to take even more learnings as part of its preparation for this Sunday’s contest.
McGregor explains: “We’ve done a lot of testing at Monza, so despite it being a new track on the WEC calendar, we know it well, and so do many of the teams. However, the added experience of last weekend’s ELMS race has given us even more data heading into this weekend. Every lap of the track adds to our knowledge.
“We’re expecting changeable weather conditions so it will be interesting to see how each team might choose to use the intermediate and wet tyres. Last season, teams used our intermediate tyre in a huge range of conditions, but we know our new wet tyre for 2021 also has a wide range of application. On a drying track, some teams might stay on wets until they can fit slicks, but others might use intermediates in wet and almost dry conditions. This performance overlap will also help us understand the changeable conditions that we always see at Le Mans.”
Free Practice for the 6 Hours of Monza will be held over Friday afternoon and Saturday, followed by Qualifying on Saturday evening. The six-hour race will get underway at 12:00 CEST on Sunday, 18 July.
The iconic Goodyear Blimp will also be present at Monza, flying over the circuit and providing aerial television coverage throughout the race. The Goodyear Blimp is visiting Monza and nearby Milan as part of its summer 2021 European tour, which has so far included flights over London and the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch. Its other appearances will include the PURE ETCR race at Copenhagen and, for the second consecutive year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs about 74,000 people and manufactures its products in 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.