A year after leading Indian tyre manufacturer MRF Tyres launched its MRF Motorsport business at the Autosport Show in Birmingham this time last year, progress is said to be going well. The latest addition to the European motorsport division’s portfolio is the Honda Civic Cup.
Pirelli has announced an extension to its Bute Motorsport relationship, becoming the exclusive tyre supplier to the new LMP3 Cup Championship after signing a three-year deal. The new series was officially renamed at the beginning of the year following an exhibition race at Snetterton last October under the Prototype Cup banner. The championship features the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3), developed under the technical stewardship of the ACO and aimed at teams and drivers looking to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Cooper Tire Europe has become the presenting sponsor and official tyre supplier of the RX2 International Series, the rebranded feeder series to the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Formerly known as RX Lites, the series has been renamed the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires.
Yokohama motorsport is anticipating “one of the most exciting seasons in recent times” in the manufacturer’s centenary year from its stand at Autosport International. In addition to launching the Advan A052 road-legal track tyre, it will support high-profile FIA circuit racing through to grass roots rallying and rallycross.
The 2017 endurance season kicks off with the Hankook 24H Dubai on 12 to 14 January, and the 24-hour race in the United Arab Emirates also represents the first stop for the 24H Series powered by Hankook, which the company has supported as exclusive tyre partner and title sponsor since 2014. The 24-hour series comprises a total of seven rounds, with four 24-hour races and three 12-hour races.
Yokohama will launch three new high performance tyres for motorsport, road and off-road applications at Autosport International next week. The NEC, Birmingham show is also an important one for the company not only as Europe’s largest indoor pre-season motorsport event, but as the start of its centenary year celebrations. The road-legal race tyre, Advan A052 will make its UK debut; Yokohama’s new tyre for sports, tuned and performance car drivers, Advan Fleva V701 will also be on display; and finally the new Geolandar A/T G015 for SUV and high performance off-road vehicles will also be revealed.
Dunlop, official tyre partner to the MSA British Touring Car Championship, predicts a “significant increase in grip and traction” following the introduction of larger tyre sizes and new constructions for the 2017 season.
Cooper Tire Europe will support its ambassador Xavier Foj, supplying Discoverer STT Pro tyres to Foj Motorsport for his 27th Dakar Rally. The Foj Motorsport Cooper Tire team has completed a series of rigorous test sessions in the run up to what is considered the toughest endurance event in global motorsport, taking place on 2-14 January 2017 in Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia.
Roborace has named Michelin as its official tyre partner. Michelin has been working secretly at its testing facilities and sharing over 125 years of its expertise with Roborace to develop an exclusive solution for the ultimate ‘Robocar’, designed by Daniel Simon, which will feature next-generation Michelin road tyres to be used in the series. Roborace is currently in its Beta season appearing at Formula E circuits for exhibitions using its development car ‘DevBot’. The official unveiling of the championship's Ultimate car will take place in 2017.
With its tyres used by competitors in more than 26 motorsport championships in the UK alone, Yokohama continued its support in 2016 for young drivers across the three main motorsport disciplines; circuit racing, rallying and rallycross.
Aston Martin Racing’s two titles at the 6 Hours of Bahrain FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season finale came in its first season working with Dunlop. In total Dunlop-shod vehicles won five times this year in the WEC. Following prior successes in the prototype category, Dunlop chose to take on an FIA World Endurance GTE Partnership this year with the Aston team, and will seek to provide more championship standard tyres through a testing programme started in September. Xavier Fraipont, managing director, Dunlop Motorsport and motorcycle EMEA, said the tyre manufacturer is “developing new technologies for both LMP and GT with an intensive schedule of evaluation until the start of the 2017 ELMS, VLN and WEC seasons.” Tyres & Accessories caught up with Fraipont after the end of the 2016 WEC season, beginning the conversation by asking how Dunlop was able to achieve so much in endurance racing this year.
Following its product experience event at the Portimao circuit in September, Davanti has announced a new partnership with the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve Racing School in Portugal. For the next two years all vehicles at the AIA Racing School will be fitted with Davanti Tyres. Models include a Porsche Cayman S, Audi RS3, Audi TTS, Honda Civic Type-R and two Ginettas, All professional racing tuition, track experiences, and driving demonstrations will be performed on Davanti’s DX640 tyres, with the exception of the Ginettas, which will race on the DX390 pattern.
Michelin will supply custom developed versions of its Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre as the sole track-focused original equipment fitment on the new Mercedes-AMG GT R. The road-legal asymmetric tyres have a single rubber compound developed in motorsport series such as the World Endurance Championship. It is designed to provide balanced handling, grip and endurance on track, the performance characteristics specified by AMG’s engineers. Different versions of the Pilot Sport Cup 2 have featured as OE on the BMW M4 GTS and the Ford Focus RS in 2016.
Hankook Tire doesn’t just supply tyres to the DTM touring car championship – it also awards the fastest pit stop tyre changers. BMW Team MTEK delivered the fastest tyre change times over the past season, and by doing so has won Hankook’s Best Pit Stop Award 2016. Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Tire’s motorsport director for Europe, presented the Hankook trophy to the winning team at Team MTEK headquarters on 8 December.
According to Renault Sport, leading names from the Renault UK Clio Cup are predicting increased speeds and closer racing through the championship’s switch to Michelin tyres in 2017. Multiple title-winning team Pyro Motorsport, three-time champion driver Paul Rivett and 2016 race winner Paul Streather have all praised the Michelin tyres after testing them.