Falken Motorsports has completed a shakedown of its 2019 race cars at Portugal’s Autodromo Internacional Algarve ahead of the 2019 VLN Endurance Championship, which begins on 23 March 2019. This season the team will introduce the new 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 R, with the test marking the first running for the new chassis as well as the new larger 300/680R18 Falken tyres fitted to the front axle to provide additional grip. The rear axle is fitted with 310/710R18 tyres, which are the same as the team’s previous model.
Dunlop has concluded a tyre test programme that will result in new tyres being introduced into the German VLN Endurance Championship. The tyre manufacturer hopes to make another step forward in performance to build on a successful season in the Nürburgring Nordschleife based series. Dunlop-equipped cars took several overall and class wins in 2018, and the tyre company used the session at Portugal’s Autodromo Internacional Algarve to test new ideas and concepts for the 2019 season.
Falken Motorsports has introduced a new Porsche 911 GT3 R for the start of the 2019 motorsport season. The new Porsche will compete alongside the team’s BMW M6 GT3 at the Nürburgring, continuing the Japanese tyre brand’s 20-year commitment to the legendary Nordschleife with racing cars from two premium car manufacturers.
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.
Hankook has supplied several demanding series in 2018, including the DTM, FIA Formula 3 European Championship, 24H Series powered by Hankook, the VLN Endurance Championship, and the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, with the Ventus Race tyre.
Falken will contest its 20th season at the 2018 Nürburgring 24-Hour Race and subsequent VLN Endurance Championship. The Falken Motorsports driver line-up, which has been altered for 2018, are competing in its two GT3 cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 and BMW M6 GT3. Falken has also produced a video to mark the occasion of two decades on the Nordschleife “Green Hell”.
The GRT Grasser Racing Team claimed Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and overall titles with a third-place finish in the final race at Barcelona with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The result gave Grasser’s Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Andrea Caldarelli the drivers’ Endurance title, while Bortolotti and Engelhart became the overall Blancpain GT Series drivers’ champions, which also considers results in the Sprint Cup.
Following a closely-fought one-hour race at the Nürburgring in Germany, Audi claimed both the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup drivers’ and team titles, as well as the race win. The overall Sprint Cup drivers’ title went to Stuart Leonard and Robin Frijns, who also won the race overall in the #17 Audi R8 LMS. However, it was another Audi of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT that clinched the overall Sprint Cup team title, with Marcel Fassler and Dries Vanthoor finishing the race 10th to secure the teams’ championship: adding up to a highly-successful weekend for the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer.
Dunlop has extended its partnership with the BMW M235i Racing Cup, described by product manager Dunlop Motorsport EMEA, Alexander Kühn as “the perfect entry point into the VLN.” The Cup began in 2014 and regularly features more than 20 cars battling in the most heavily occupied and extremely competitive class in the VLN and the 24h race on the Nurburgring. All BMW M235i Racing cars have competed for four consecutive seasons on the toughest race track of the world, racing exclusively on Dunlop racing tyres in the dimension 265/660 R18.
Some of the closest World Endurance Championship racing of the season was witnessed at the 6 Hours of Mexico, as Dunlop supplied the tyres to the winners of all three classes in which the brand was present. In addition all three steps on a GT class podium were claimed by Dunlop drivers for the first time since the WEC was formed in 2012.
Falken has returned to the Nürburgring podium at the 40th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen, with the tyre brand’s Falken Motorsport team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R, driven by Martin Ragginger and Klaus Bachler following up victory for the BMW in July. In changeable weather conditions familiar to the Eifel region Ragginger/Bachler brought the Porsche over the line in third place at the second VLN Endurance Championship race of the season at the circuit.
Dunlop’s European Le Mans Series (ELMS) clean sweep continued in France this weekend at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. The Dunlop tyres rose to the challenge of the Southern France heat, with LMP2 teams opting to largely double-stint with the tyre proving capable of up to four stints despite track temperatures exceeding 40 degrees.
The World Endurance Championship’s mid-season break is nearly at an end, but while many were taking advantage of the summer break, tyre supplier Dunlop conducted a test in the USA focussed on 2018 sportscar tyre specifications. The manufacturer states the findings will help its designers refine the models before track testing resumes after the current season.