Dunlop-shod LMP2 takes ALMS overall victory in Baltimore
The American Le Mans Series’ LMP2 prototype category has become something of a Dunlop specialism in recent seasons, the tyre supplier says. In 2011, Dunlop supplied winning vehicles’ tyres in both International and European Le Mans Series, as well as the Le Mans 24 hour race with Greaves Motorsport. This year, all but one of the teams in the American Le Mans Series, in addition to all the teams in the European series and the new FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 category, have chosen to run on Dunlop tyres. In the latest round of the ALMS, Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker led a one-two finish for Level 5 Motorsports at the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge, the Dunlop-shod team’s second overall win in ALMS with the Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototype.
The Baltimore result marks the second time this year in the ALMS that a lightweight LMP2 class car has taken the overall win ahead of the more powerful LMP1 contenders. “LMP2 is one of the most competitive categories of racing in the world,” stated Jean-Felix Bazelin, general manager, Dunlop Motorsport.
“The combination of top-level teams and drivers, strong entries and a variety of chassis and engines mean we learn a lot in this category. Dunlop has been the choice of all the winners in Europe, America and in the World Endurance Championship so far this year, but we don’t take this success for granted. We welcome competition in this category, as it drives us in the same way as it does in GT racing, where our intensive development with teams such as BMW and JMW-Ferrari have helped both us and our partners achieve new heights of performance,”
Dunlop says that one of its challenges this year has been to offer all the teams a stronger product than the competition, whilst at the same time helping the teams reduce cost by bringing less tyre options to each race. “It is a curious, but interesting, situation,” Bazelin continues. “It is almost like a one-brand championship, but we never forget that our customers have a choice, so we have to always consider the prospect of increased competition. We have worked with our teams to improve efficiencies and drive parity across the grid, by offering exactly the same choice of tyres to all teams, and not using development-type tyres in the way that we would in a fully open competitive arena such as the GT classes.
“We are very proud of the equality and consistency that we have offered across the whole field, with every team getting exactly the same tyres. This has helped make the racing so competitive, and it has helped us learn about the diverse mix of different chassis used in LMP2. We aim to build on this to offer an even stronger tyre package in 2013.”