Yokohama Rubber’s Motor Sports Activities in 2008
The Yokohama Rubber Co. has outlined its motorsports plan for 2008. Viewing motor sports as a means of developing its global flagship Advan brand, the company will support a number of different motor sports activities in Japan and around the world.
Major activities will be as follows:
FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC)
Joining Formula 1 and the World Rally Championship, the WTCC became the third FIA world championship in 2005. The 2008 season will mark its fourth year as such. Yokohama Rubber has been supplying Advan racing tyres as the designated one-make tyre since 2006, and, based on evaluations of their balanced performance on both FF and FR cars, has been officially designated to do so through at least 2009. As was the case last year, the company’s support of all teams means tyres for about 35 cars. Beginning in Brazil on March 2, the 2008 WTCC will consist of twenty-four races in twelve rounds, climaxing with the final races in Macau. This year will see the first WTCC competition at the Okayama International Circuit, a move that Yokohama is confident equals world-class excitement for fans in Japan.
International Formula Master (IFM)
As the designated one-make supplier for the second consecutive year, Yokohama Rubber will supply Advan racing tyres for the IFM series, a new formula category established in 2007 as a stepping stone (along with GP2) to Formula 1. IFM series will be staged concurrently during eight European rounds of the WTCC. Cars will be F3 class, 2-pedal/paddle-shift. Starting with races in Spain on May 18, the eight IFM events will continue through the tour stop in Italy. Exciting performances by drivers hoping to move up to F1 can be expected, Yokohama comments. Starting this year, the Italia Formula Master series will be added nationally to the IFM. Yokohama Rubber will supply Advan racing tyres to the series as the one-make tyre.
China Rally Championship/China Circuit Championship
Yokohama Rubber will supply Advan racing tyres in the two most popular racing categories in China. In the China Rally Championship, Yokohama Rubber will continue its partnership with Shanghai Volkswagen 333 Racing – which won the title in 2007 – aiming at another series championship in the 2WD NA2000cc and under class. In the 4WD over 2000cc class, the company will support Subaru Rally Team China, which is aiming to retake the title. In the China Touring Car Championship, Yokohama Rubber will continue its partnership with the two top teams in China – Shanghai Volkswagen 333 Racing, which won the 2007 series championship on Advan racing tyres, and Gear Sports, which finished second and will support these teams aiming at series championship.
Le Mans 24 Hours
Having been part of this race for 25 years, Yokohama Rubber will again participate in the LMP1 class, this time with Tokai University’s “Le Mans Challenge Project.” The Tokai project team is headed by Professor Yoshimasa Hayashi of the university and includes a number of his students. It has engaged in research and development of racing machines and engines for seven years. Participation by an industry-and-academia team at Le Mans will be a world’s first and expected to get results.
Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC)
In partnership with the Cusco World Rally Team, which will be taking part in the APRC for the third time, Yokohama Rubber has its sights on the championship. The team, which finished second and sixth in 2006 and 2007, respectively, features drivers Hiroshi Yanagisawa, Dean Herridge and Yuya Sumiyama, and will participate with two cars.
American Le Mans Series
Run under the same rules as Le Mans 24 Hours, the series will consist of 12 races, starting in Sebring. Yokohama Rubber will provide Advan racing tyres to the B-K Motor Sports team participating in the LMP2 class. B-K is also partnering this year with Mazdaspeed Motorsports.
In the GT500 class, Yokohama Rubber will continue its partnerships with Kondo Racing, which won the 2007 championship at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, and Toyota Team Tsuchiya. Running on Advan racing tyres, Kondo Racing won in only its second year of participation in the GT500 class. This year, the team will change cars, having chosen the Nissan GT-R. Toyota Team Tsuchiya will, this year again, use the proven Toyota SC 430. Yokohama Rubber is now developing tyres to match the characteristics of the two cars, and looking eagerly forward to the results. In the GT300 class, Yokohama Rubber will also this year supply racing tyres to about 60 per cent of the teams, including Cars Tokai Dream 28, which won the championship in 2007.
All Japan Rally Championship
As in 2007, Yokohama Rubber will continue its partnership with the Advan-PIAA Rally Team. The team will participate with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X painted red and black – Advan colours – aiming at retaking the series championship.
Yokohama Rubber will support a variety of categories and events, including the Super Taikyu Race, the All Japan Gymkhana Championship, and the All Japan Dirt Trial.
Yokohama One-Make Tyre Categories
Yokohama Rubber will provide Advan racing tyres to the following:
International F3 Macau Grand Prix (China): Will provide one-make tyres for the F3 Grand Prix for the 26th consecutive year, and for the WTCC final round.
Yokohama Drivers Cup Series: Race series featuring Porsche996 and 997.
German F3 (Germany): F3 race.
Polo Cup (China): Race featuring the Volkswagen Polo.
Civic One-Make Race (Japan): Race featuring the Honda Civic.
Formula 4, Carts, etc. – entry-level categories to the world of motor sports.