Goodyear to begin second season as exclusive LMP2 supplier at Sebring
- Goodyear’s second full season as exclusive supplier to LMP2
- Bumpy airfield track a fascinating challenge to start the season
- No intermediate tyre this year to create interesting strategy decisions
This weekend, Goodyear begins its second season as the exclusive tyre supplier to the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship when the globe-trotting series kicks off its 2022 season with the 1000 Miles of Sebring. There are some changes to the Goodyear racing tyre range for the upcoming season.
Starting the season at Sebring is a new challenge in itself. The central Florida track last featured on the WEC calendar in 2019, meaning this weekend’s race is Goodyear’s first WEC event at the track since the tyre brand returned to international motorsport in 2020. A notoriously bumpy circuit with dozens of surface changes throughout the lap, tyre management is key here. As such, Goodyear’s track support engineers will work closely with every LMP2 team to advise on setup and tyre usage.
Versatility is key
This year, Goodyear will supply one specification of slick tyre for racing in dry conditions, and a new specification of wet tyre. In previous years, an intermediate tyre for drying or damp conditions, and multiple specifications of slick tyre, were permitted. This new challenge means that Goodyear’s two specifications of tyre need to be even more versatile than in previous years, as both need to perform in a wider range of conditions.
Mike McGregor, Endurance Program Manager, Goodyear, explains: “The championship’s decision to rationalise the tyre range was made for a number of reasons, including sustainability. Restricting the number of tyre specifications means fewer tyres need to be transported. The versatile slick tyre is the same as one used in 2021, but we have focused our attention on supporting the teams with their setup. Changes to the camber, toe and other adjustments mean we can maximise the performance. The Goodyear LMP2 tyre has been designed to perform in a wide range of conditions, with durability and mileage at the front of mind.”
The championship regulations allow each car to use 12 tyres during each weekend’s Free Practice sessions, and a maximum of 18 tyres for qualifying and the race. In the case of a longer race, such as this weekend’s 1000 Miles of Sebring or the 8 Hours of Bahrain, an extra eight tyres are allowed, bringing the qualifying and race allocation to 26. Different rules apply at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A mixed season ahead
After Sebring, the championship begins its European leg with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on 7 May. The season highlight, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is scheduled for 11-12 June, followed by six-hour races at Monza (10 July) and Fuji (11 September) and the season finale 8 Hours of Bahrain on 12 November.
The variety of circuits on the calendar that spans three continents creates a number of challenges for teams, drivers and Goodyear, too. Changeable weather conditions are a key part of this. Compare the cold of Spa to the heat of Bahrain, and factor in the chance of monsoon rain at Fuji, and it’s clear to see that Goodyear’s slick and wet tyres both need to excel in a range of circumstances.
McGregor adds: “With the removal of the intermediate tyre from the range, the new Goodyear wet tyre needs to perform in a wider operating window, from heavy downpours right up to the point where the track dries enough to switch to slick tyres. This will create an interesting strategy decision, where teams will have to decide whether to push their use of the wet tyre into drier conditions, or the slick tyre into wetter conditions. Goodyear’s track support engineers will work closely with every one of them to help teams and drivers find the balance.”
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