Yokohama says 2011 motorsport season “one of most successful”
Yokohama says that its 2011 motorsport season ranks as “one of the most successful” for the Japanese tyre manufacturer. It has supplied tyres to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the World Touring Cars Championship at the highest levels of circuit racing and rallying, while also helping “grass roots” level competitors to “clinch a huge variety of championships in almost every conceivable form of motorsport”.
In rallying the brand has been a tyre partner to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge since its inception. This year’s penultimate stage saw Yokohama’s latest gravel rally tyre, the A053, fit the Production Cup winner. At Rally Scotland, young Finn Jarkko Nikara set a blistering pace in the category, but Japanese rallying stalwart Toshi Arai took the class win and with it a chance to win the Production title when the series reaches its conclusion in Cyprus in November.
On track, the brand again partnered with Aston Martin this year, the fifth time the two marques have worked together, supplying tyres for the two-car, in-house team at the Nürburgring 24 Hour race. Both Aston Martin V12 Zagatos ran strongly, though they missed podium results.
In the FIA World Touring Car Championship five different drivers stood on the top step of the podium, though the manufacturer and driver honours went to Chevrolet. With three rounds still to run at time of printing, in Japan, China and Macau, any of the three Chevrolet drivers – Yvan Muller, Robb Huff and Alain Menu – could still walk away with the title.
The brand has been busier in the UK, with the Sports 2000 series making a switch from bias tyres to Yokohama’s racing radial tyres. After a full year on the dry radial, the series organisers will introduce the matching wet weather tyre for the 2012 season and are said to be extremely happy with the performance and durability of the new tyres. Following this success, more applications for the radial tyres are expected to follow next year.
One-make series, traditionally a main-stay of Yokohama’s motorsport involvement, have also flourished according to Yokohama. The Lotus Cup UK enjoyed an “extremely successful” first year, running as part of the Lotus OnTrack race series. The Lotus Cup Europe also enjoyed success, while the Morgan series experienced strong grids, also running on Yokohama control tyres. Two Caterham race series, the Caterham Graduates and the Mega Graduates, also used Yokohama tyres this year.
Yokohama tyres were also in action in the fast and frantic oval racing arena, as control tyre for the BriSCA F2 series. With more than 600 drivers and 200 race meetings in a season, Yokohama says it can lay claim to being “one of the most hotly contested series around”.
The brand was also very active in Scotland, with the Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup and the Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons Championship both running on Yokohama tyres and supporting the British Touring Car Championship when it visited Scotland.
Yokohama also fitted control tyres in Rallycross, running on both the Junior and Senior Suzuki Swift classes that run alongside the British Rallycross Championship. The RX150 buggies, famous from both British rallycross and their use in the annual Race of Champions, also run on Yokohama in the UK.