KUMHO, B-K MOTORSPORTS JOIN FORCES Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. - KUMHO TIRE U.S.A. has added to its American Le Mans Series involvement, today announcing a partnership with the Mazda-powered B-K Motorsports team in LMP2. KUMHO will supply tires...
KUMHO, B-K MOTORSPORTS JOIN FORCES
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. - KUMHO TIRE U.S.A. has added to its American Le Mans Series involvement, today announcing a partnership with the Mazda-powered B-K Motorsports team in LMP2.
KUMHO will supply tires for B-K Motorsports' Mazda rotary-powered Courage C65 starting at the Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston, the next round of the American Le Mans Series.
"We're excited about the opportunity to work with Mazda," said Rudy Consolacion, KUMHO motorsports manager. "Like us, last year was Mazda's first year in the Series, and they're committed to developing their engine and chassis package and are eager to help us develop our tires. And like KUMHO, Mazda has a strong following among amateur racers because the company is involved in grassroots racing at so many levels, such as Spec Miata, Formula Mazda and Star Mazda."
"We're very pleased with this new partnership," said John Doonan, manager of motorsports team development for Mazda North America. "Both KUMHO and Mazda are in somewhat of a development phase with American Le Mans Series programs. We believe this new partnership will take both companies to new heights in professional sports car racing."
KUMHO previously announced that its 2005 Series partner - Miracle Motorsports - decided to focus only on endurance races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. "We will continue to supply tires to Miracle for endurance events, but we wanted to find another team with which we could contest the full American Le Mans Series season," Consolacion said.
Mazda's B-K Motorsports team finished third in the LMP2 championship last year, with drivers Guy Cosmo and Jamie Bach garnering Series Rookie of the Year honors. Cosmo and Bach are back with B-K again this year, and Marcus Haselgrove - who won two LMP1 championships as an engineer with Champion Racing and the Audi R8 - has joined B-K Motorsports as technical director and team manager.
"I'm thrilled about the opportunity to work with KUMHO because of what the company wants to do with development of the tires," Haselgrove said. "It's an exciting program to be involved with and is also a lot of responsibility. It's huge to actually get to help develop a race tire. The development will obviously help KUMHO and will also help us."
Consolacion is equally excited about the opportunity to work with Mazda, Haselgrove and the rest of the B-K team. "Mazda has succeeded at every level of motorsports in which it has participated," he said. "Marcus brings great experience from Champion Racing, a team that has won Le Mans, Sebring and American Le Mans Series championships. He brings a wealth of knowledge that will help us as we continually develop our tires. And Guy and Jamie are fast, young drivers who are back for a second season in the car, so they'll provide consistency behind the wheel."
Consolacion added that the team will test before the Houston event and has scheduled further development tests throughout the season. "LMP2 is a very competitive class with teams such as Intersport Racing and the Roger Penske-prepared Porsches. Acura is coming into the class next year, so LMP2 will be a great proving ground for Mazda and KUMHO."
The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Lone Star Grand Prix, scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT on May 12 in Houston. It will be broadcast at 1 p.m. May 13 EDT on CBS Sports, the first of five straight Series events on network television. Qualifying is set for 6:15 p.m. CDT on May 11. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at www.americanlemans.com, which also will have IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.