Dunlop looking forward to refreshed European Le Mans Series, exits ALMS
Dunlop is looking forward to the newly refreshed European Le Mans series, describing it as a “major step forward in securing the future of endurance racing in Europe.” But this also means that the company will not supply the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
Jean-Felix Bazelin, general manager, Dunlop Motorsport said: “Whilst we are excited about the growth of Le Mans type racing around the world, Europe is the heartland for the majority of teams and chassis manufacturers in this category of racing. After a difficult year for the European Le Mans Series , it is fantastic to see a strong calendar for 2013, closely aligned to the promising new FIA World Endurance Championship. We see the growth of both championships as vital components in building the strongest possible grid for the Le Mans 24h race.”
Dunlop are the most successful tyre manufacturer in the history of the Le Mans 24h race, with 34 overall wins and back to back LMP2 wins in the last two years. Dunlop also was the major tyre supplier to teams in the European Le Mans Series during 2012, being the choice of the LMP2 and GT-Pro champions.
“The European Le Mans Series offered fans some thrilling racing in 2012, particularly in the LMP2 category. It was great to be part of this, and as the championship regroups and relaunches we are firmly committed to being part of its revitalisation in 2013 and beyond. ”
“We also see an exciting future for the FIA World Endurance Championship. However, it is important that all stakeholders work together to ensure that there is sustainable growth for this championship. We took steps to reduce costs by restricting tyre choice options in LMP2 this year, and if stakeholders in the championship continue to drive for similar initiatives to reduce freight, logistics and other event costs then this championship could have a very attractive future” added Bazelin.
Stepping aside from the American Le Mans series
Dunlop’s increased focus on European-based endurance racing, including the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), International GT Open and the VLN series, as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), means Dunlop will not supply tyres to any teams in the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
“We have had a fantastic four years in the American Le Mans Series, winning both the LMP1 and GT championships with our partners in 2011, and winning races in all three open classes this year. It is a fantastic, highly competitive championship and we are incredibly proud of our successes. However, with an increased calendar in North America clashing with several of the other major international championships where we compete, we have had to make choices. I thank our American Le Mans teams and IMSA for their support over the last four years. Their recent merger with Grand-Am is a positive step towards building an even stronger championship and we wish them well” stated Bazelin.