Yokohama outlines 2011 motorsport activities
Motorsport is viewed by Yokohama Rubber as a “key aspect its efforts to develop its global tyre business,” and with this in mind the Japanese tyre maker says it will “strive to increase the degree of recognition of the Yokohama tyre brand through a wide range of motor sports activities in Japan and around the world.” On March 24 the company announced its global motorsport plans for 2011.
Official tyre supply to the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) continues; Yokohama has been designated to serve in this capacity through 2012. As was the case last year, in 2011 the company will supply its Advan eco racing tyres, products it says combine “solid grip with improved environmental performance.”
The 2011 WTCC will consist of twenty-four races in twelve rounds. The fourth round, in Japan, will take place at the Suzuka Circuit for the first time, replacing the Okayama International Circuit, site of the round in the three previous years. The Guangdong International Circuit in China is also being added as a new site.
For the 29th consecutive year, Yokohama Rubber will provide one-make tyres for the Formula 3 competition, the main event of the International Macau Grand Prix. Many of the cars in concurrent events at Macau, including the WTCC, will also be running on Yokohama tyres.
Yokohama is one of three tyre suppliers for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) series – the other two being Michelin and Pirelli – and this year the Japanese manufacturer will participate in six races, including France’s Tour de Corse. The company says it is in the process of selecting its team and driver.
This year a new series, the European Production Series, gets underway. Yokohama reports it will be the sole tyre supplier for the series’ Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic, England, Germany and Spain based events. Another newly established event is the six races of the F3 International Trophy; the tyre maker will serve as sole tyre supplier to the series’ second race, the Grand Prix de Pau, as well as to the fifth race, the aforementioned Macao Grand Prix.
For the German VLN Endurance Racing Series (ten races) at the Nürburgring, the ADAC Zurich 24h-race and the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Yokohama Rubber will seek supply tyres to Black Falcon (AMG SLS) and “other promising teams.” The tyre maker will provide its Advan eco racing tyres as one-make tires to the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) and touring car championships in Germany, Spain, Russia, Scandinavia and other countries.
Unsurprisingly, Yokohama is heavily involved with motorsport in its home market. This year the tyre maker will support two cars in the GT500 class of the Super GT championship – the WedsSport Advan SC430 and Advan Kondo Racing’s Nissan GT-R. Yokohama says it is “going all out to win the championship.” In the GT300 class, Yokohama will also provide Advan racing tyres to multiple teams and aims to win in this class for the second consecutive year.
Other Japanese motorsport commitments include the All Japan Rally Championship, where Yokohama is partnering with the Advan-PIAA Rally Team in 2011 and aims to retake the championship in the JN4 class. The company will also supply Advan rally tyres to many teams. In the All Japan Gymkhana Championship, Yokohama Rubber “aims to surpass” its 2010 championship win in six classes; its principle weapon in this battle will be the Advan A050. For the All Japan Dirt Trial, the tyre makers says it “is looking to win even more championships” and will attempt to do so by offering Advan A035 tune-up products and new-size tyres.
Finally, Yokohama will act as a one-make supplier to the Super Taikyu Race Series and the Civic Inter series and provide its Advan eco racing tyres for both of these. In the Formula category, Yokohama Rubber will, starting this year, be the one-make tyre provider for the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, and will provide tyres throughout the middle formulas: FJ, Super FJ, F4 and F3.
In China, Yokohama Rubber was designated sole tyre supplier to the China Touring Car Championship (CTCC) in 2010 and will continue providing ADVAN eco racing tyres this year. In Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau, Yokohama Rubber will supply its tyres primarily to various circuit races. In the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), it will provide tyres to Pertamina Cusco Racing and numerous other teams. In other rally categories, Yokohama Rubber says it will seek wins in the Malaysian Rally Championship, the Indian National Rally Championship and the Gravel Circuit Championship (Sri Lanka). In Australia, the company will supply one-make Advan eco racing tyres to V8 Ute, a racing series for light ‘pickup’ trucks.
In the United States, Yokohama Rubber will participate in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with West Yokohama Racing (Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4). In the class, it will also provide tyres to Paul Miller Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) to win a championship. In addition to the GTC class of the series, it will supply Advan eco racing tyres as one-make tyres to the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge (USA) and the Porsche GT3 Cup (Brazil). With its Geolandar SUV tyres, Yokohama Rubber will also participate in off-road races, including the Baja 1000.
In Japan, as it did last year, Yokohama Rubber will participate in the Super KF category of the All Japan Karting Championship, and will continue to supply one-make tyres to the FP-Junior CADET category of the Junior Karting Championship. Overseas, the company will continue to supply one-make tyres to the Asian Karting Open Championship. It will also “extensively” provide tyres to circuit races in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and elsewhere.