The Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the last open tyre competitions in recent years. For Falken, it represents an opportunity to compete on track against top global premium brands, like Michelin, Goodyear and Yokohama. In the last decade Falken road tyre technology it has narrowed the performance gap, evidenced by improved results in third party tyre tests.
Sailun Tire has entered into a partnership agreement with China’s Apex Motorsport. The deal, signed on 21 August by Apex Motorsport’s Jin Yi and Chen Zheng, deputy director of Sailun Motorsport, gives Apex global sales rights for Sailun Sports Tires including the full range of Sailun Gene R tyres. Sailun believes this agreement marks its “successful shift from the prosumer market to the consumer market following three years of racing events that put Sailun Tire products to various stringent tests.”
Giti Tire’s “busiest year-to-date in European motorsport” was capped by two victories by Giti and GT Radial sponsored partners. The all-female racing team, ‘Girls Only – Ready to Rock the Green Hell’, recorded their first ever class win in the ninth and last race of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft in their VW Golf VII GTI TCR. Meanwhile Benjamin Boulbes became a six-time French Drift Championship winner on GT Radial tyres.
On 11 January, Sailun Tire and production car drifting series D1 Grand Prix (D1GP) signed their official partnership for the 2020 season, solidifying Sailun as an official strategic partner and tyre supplier for what many consider to be the world’s top international drifting event.
From endurance racing and drifting to desert rallies, Falken Tyres has seen success in varied motorsport disciplines this season. The brand celebrated top-ten finishes in its 20th year at the Nürburgring 24-hour race and on the Peking to Paris Rally, while the season’s crowning glory has been drift driver James Deane’s double title win.
Falken drift driver James Deane claimed his third Formula Drift Pro title at Irwindale Speedway, California, on 19 October 2019. The 28-year-old Irishman joined the series in 2017 and has won every year since, making him the first person in Formula Drift history to win three consecutive titles.
The three days of drifting excitement that was the China Drifting Cup Grand Prix (DCGP) came to an end on 13 October, with the Sailun Drift Team crowned champion of the Singles, Drift-Chase and the Manufacturer’s Cup categories. Sailun Group says these results highlight the combined performance of the vehicles, drivers’ capabilities and the “fine-tuned product design” of the second-generation Sailun FG1 race tyre.
A Yokohama-shod Toyota GR Supra Drift by HKS was one of the star attractions in the Live Action Arena at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Created by custom specialists HKS, the world’s first drift Supra boasts an impressive 700bhp thanks to a number of modifications and upgrades which included the fitment of Yokohama’s ADVAN Neova AD08RS tyres to the front, and ADVAN A052 tyres to the rear.
Falken Tyres celebrated 20 years at the Nürburgring with sponsorship of the ADAC TOTAL 24-Hour Race (N24), held on 22-23 June 2019. The Sumitomo Rubber Industries brand’s team, run by Sven Schnabl, now fields two cars at the event, and in the VLN Endurance Championship. The UK’s Peter Dumbreck and Swiss driver Alexandre Imperatori drove the BMW M6 GT3 alongside BMW factory drivers Stef Dusseldorp and Jens Klingmann to claim an excellent sixth place finish, having started 31st on the grid, while the new Porsche 911 GT3R, driven by Austrian duo Martin Ragginger and Klaus Bachler supported by Porsche factory drivers Dirk Werner and Jörg Bergmeister, finished the race in 21st, having suffered an off that put paid to its chances of a top-ten finish. Falken also supplied racing tyres to Subaru Tecnica International’s WRX STI. Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity to catch up with Falken Tyre Europe’s new chief operating officer and president, Markus Bögner, on what is probably the rising company’s most important weekend of the year.
Falken Tyres experienced its most successful VLN Endurance Championship season in 2018, securing seven podium finishes including two race victories, as its Porsche 911 GT3 R beat its competitors around the Nordschleife. The Type 991 has been the most successful Falken race car in the VLN to date, claiming two wins and nine podium finishes since its racing debut in April 2016. A reliable competitor, it has completed more than 30,000 racing kilometres overseen by Falken’s engineers.
Falken drift driver and 2017 Formula Drift champion James Deane returns to the defend his title crown this week at the opening round of Formula Drift (6-7 April 2018, Long Beach, California). The Irish driver will race for the Worthouse Drift Team in his Falken Tire Nissan S15 drift car. He steered the car to four victories during the 2017 season, which led to his championship title and Falken being named Tire Manufacturer Champion for the second consecutive year.
This year has been a strong one for Falken Tyre on the motorsport front. It has racked up a plethora of titles from its motorsport activities and also secured a first victory in the VLN Endurance Championship as well as a top-ten finish at the notoriously challenging Nürburgring 24-hour race.
Westlake tyres has partnered with The Irish Drift Championship (IDC) 2017 and says it will “cooperate with drifters to bring amazing shows for all the visitors”.
“Westlake Tyres are pleased to partner the Irish Drift Championship for the 2017 season. The IDC has some of the best drivers from around the globe and they compete at the highest level. Westlake Europe plays a big role in marketing the brand for all our tyre products and aligning Westlake tyre with top championships gives us the perfect opportunity to show-case our motorsport range,” said Chris Carpenter, a partner of Westlake Tyres in Europe.
Zenises’ diamond and gold embellished world’s most expensive tyre has been featured on Jeremy Clarkson’s Amazon Prime vehicle, The Grand Tour. Launching the final show in the series from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Clarkson introduced the Guinness World Record-holding Z Tyre to the studio audience. The show concluded with co-host Richard Hammond drifting alongside the lead driver of Acorn Zenises Motorsport, Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni.