Falken Motorsports has made a surprise addition to its NLS schedule. The tyre brand’s motorsport team will add the Porsche of Christian Engelhart and Dennis Olsen to this weekend’s opening NLS round. Falken says it originally planned to start the revised season with both of its Porsches at the NLS2 and 3 double-header on 11-12 July. A weather disrupted schedule and few other opportunities to test mean the race debut for the 2020 car has been brought forward.
With the 2019/20 season’s Premier League back underway, runaway leaders Liverpool FC’s team bus is primed to roll on official tyre sponsor, Falken rubber. The manufacturer’s RI151 pattern is fitted by Protyre and supplied in the UK by Micheldever Tyre Services.
Falken Motorsports will resume its 2020 testing at the at the Nürburgring on 15 June. The Sumitomo tyre brand’s team will run its two Porsche 911s in the first official NLS test session since restrictions lifted. Klaus Bachler and Martin Ragginger will share one of the 2020 spec 991.2 GT3 R Porsches, whilst Sven Müller and Dirk Werner will pilot the other. Falken adds that it will race at NLS2 and 3 on 11-12 July.
European lockdowns have caused sever interruptions to many in the tyre industry. But as the continent’s businesses enter a new phase of reopening, it is important to understand how this can be achieved while minimising the associated risks. Due to the different national timelines involved in this process, UK businesses may look to mainland countries a little further along this journey to see how they are proceeding. Tyres & Accessories spoke to the COO and president of Falken Tyre Europe, Markus Bögner, about how the Offenbach, Germany based company – part of Japan’s Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) – has weathered lockdown, and is now beginning to “see positive changes” in key European markets.
The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns mean that sales of car tyres especially have sustained a harsh blow around the world. But as measures introduced to halt the spread of COVID-19 begin to be eased, motorists will steadily begin to use their cars again, increasing demand. In the car tyre sector, high value, ultra-high performance segments could prove vital, as better potential margins offer attractive opportunities for increasing cashflow quicker. The other side of that coin is that motorists’ finances are also under pressure, putting the price they pay for their car tyres under even greater scrutiny. Could this, therefore, present an opportunity for mid-range brands to make a case for their products, offering more palatable performance compromises compared with premium rivals than the lowest-priced brands?
The ADAC TOTAL 24h of the Nürburgring has been rescheduled for September, leaving a cloud-shaped hole in Falken Motorport’s schedule. The tyre brand’s team is followed by an enthusiastic fan base, though, and Falken has found a way to engage them without the totemic event of its motorsport season.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the manufacturer of the global Falken tyre brand has temporarily shut down its factory in South Africa on government orders. All of its other tyre manufacturing facilities are currently operational, though staff at the Falken Tyre Europe headquarters in Germany are working remotely where possible, or following social distancing guidelines.
A new technique to observe and analyse individual materials within tyre rubber offers “enormous potential” for the development of high-performance tyres with unprecedented levels of efficiency and wear resistance, engineers at Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) and Ibaraki University claim.
Auto Zeitung’s 2020 summer tyre test is one of the largest it has ever published. The German motoring magazine has looked at 20 brands of size 225/50 R17 94/98 W/Y tyres in an evaluation that covers premium to budget. The cheapest of the tyres on test can be had for around 230 euros (£200) a set; the most expensive cost more than twice as much. As you’d expect, the winners’ podium was dominated by premium products priced well above the average. The fourth-placed tyre is a different story.
The new SUV-look Audi A1 citycarver has been available since autumn 2019, and Falken Tyres Europe says it is supplying original equipment tyres for the model. The A1 citycarver wears the Falken Azenis FK510 in size 205/55R17.
Falken will run a pair of the latest specification GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 R cars in both the Nürburgring Endurance Series (formerly known as the VLN) and the Nürburgring 24h race in 2020. The Falken Motorsports race team, run by Schnabl Engineering for the tenth consecutive year, has ordered a new 991.2 chassis to run alongside its 2019 Porsche. Both cars will be identical in specification.
Micheldever Tyre Service (MTS) states that it offers “the most comprehensive car mid-range tyre brand availability across the current market.” The wholesaler is exclusive distributor, or has preferred supplier arrangements, for some of the worlds’ leading manufacturers of mid-range brands, including Falken, General Tire, GT Radial, Sumitomo and Kormoran.
Falken will launch its new Sincera SN110 car tyre in the UK from mid-March 2020 in 49 sizes for 14-16” wheels. The manufacturer said that it aims to “bring the wear and wet grip benefits normally found in top-of-the-range tyres to cost-conscious customers driving mass market cars.” The tyre has achieved A rated wet grip performance on the EU tyre label. Falken says this shows the tyre has not compromised on safety to achieve the tyre’s increased longevity.
Working together with a Japanese university, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI) has established a new technique for observing materials contained within tyre rubber. This process differs from existing methods as it enables an evaluation of the actual rubber used in mass-produced tyres rather than relying upon processed test samples. The company behind the Falken tyre brand foresees the technique facilitating the development of tyres with superior performance characteristics.
The combination of political disruption and Brexit uncertainty made 2019 a tough year for the UK economy in general, so it is not surprising to learn that this was reflected in the overall passenger car tyre replacement market. According to the latest sell-out UK tyre replacement market data collated by analysts at GfK, the headline news is that both the value and the volume of the decreased in 2019. But there are reasons for hope, with signs of growth remaining in the value-rich SUV tyre sub-segment and with evidence of strong growth in sales of all-season tyres.