The 24 Hours of Le Mans is considered the most prestigious race on the endurance racing calendar. Goodyear looks ahead to exclusively supplying the grid of 27 LMP2 cars.
Goodyear designs and manufactures Eagle F1 SuperSport race tyres for the Le Mans Prototype 2 category, the largest at Le Mans. 2022 marks the 90th running of the historic event and this weekend’s race is the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season. In addition to 15 WEC cars, Goodyear will also supply tyres to 12 LMP2 entries from championships around the world competing at Le Mans.
Goodyear’s exclusive agreement to supply the LMP2 category means it works closely with teams on setup and strategy over the course of the season, including the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last season, LMP2 winners WRT completed 363 laps of the 13.6-kilometre circuit, covering more than 16 Formula 1 Grand Prix distances. Stints are typically 11 laps each, and some teams run four stints on the same set of tyres, or 600 kilometres. At Le Mans in 2021, the furthest travelled on a set of Goodyear tyres was 650 kilometres – that’s more than two Formula 1 Grand Prix race distances, which would typically require around six sets of tyres. “Goodyear loves coming back to Le Mans each year”, says Ben Crawley, Goodyear Motorsport Director. “It’s the highlight of the endurance racing calendar and equally important for the Goodyear brand. While the race lasts for 24 hours, preparing for the challenge of Le Mans lasts the entire year, but it’s the one our team most look forward to. The incredible atmosphere and racing at the event is what makes Le Mans so special.”
WRT leads the way in LMP2 standings going into Le Mans
After two rounds of the WEC season, WRT leads the standings with its drivers Rene Rast, Robin Frijns and Sean Gelael. The trio heads to Le Mans off the back of victory at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May. United Autosports, winner of the first round at Sebring, is just six points behind in the championship.
Introducing a single wet-weather tyre
New this season, WEC LMP2 teams have access to a single wet and dry tyre from Goodyear. This marks a shift away from supplying an ‘intermediate’ tyre in the past. While these tyres have been used thus far in the WEC season, it will be the first time Goodyear is bringing this two-tyre strategy to Le Mans. “We’ve worked hard to develop a wet tyre with a much larger working range,” explains Mike McGregor, Goodyear’s Endurance Programme Manager. “We are happy with the performance of this tyre and are confident drivers will relish the challenge of racing with a single compound of tyre. “With the introduction of a single-spec tyre, our engineers have designed a tyre that can handle the extreme heat of Bahrain to stints during the chilly nights at Le Mans. Also, from a sustainability standpoint, we expect fewer tyres to be used over the course of the event.”
Going virtual: esports series exhibit open to fans
This year Le Mans Virtual will be present in the Le Mans Fan Village, giving fans a flavour of the challenges and pressure of the real race taking place just a few hundred metres away. Goodyear is the official tyre partner of the esports championship which concluded its season with a virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in January and featured some of the world’s fastest sim racers. As the tyre supplier both to the real-world race and the virtual version, Goodyear’s innovation is being brought to new audiences around the world.
Goodyear’s Le Mans schedule
While preparation for Le Mans takes place throughout the year, Goodyear engineers arrived at the circuit two weeks before the event. Practice and qualifying for the race take place on Wednesday and Thursday. Goodyear’s team of track support engineers continue to support teams even after the race has got underway, working with teams in the pit garages to advise on strategy and ensure the timely delivery of tyres for slick pit stops, day and night for 24 hours. The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 16:00 CAT on Saturday 11th June.