Daytona 24: Goodyear Racing preview

Goodyear develops new tires for Daytona Prototype class. AKRON, Ohio (JAN. 27, 2003) -- When the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series made the decision to create the new Daytona Prototype class, the responsibility for developing the tires for...

Goodyear develops new tires for Daytona Prototype class.

AKRON, Ohio (JAN. 27, 2003) -- When the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series made the decision to create the new Daytona Prototype class, the responsibility for developing the tires for the new division fell to Goodyear.

Just as the new cars went from concept to ready-to-race reality in less than half a year, the Goodyear Eagle Sports Car Specials the teams will use went from drawing board to racetrack in a short period.

"Obviously it's a lot of work to develop tires for a new type of car in a short period of time," said Bob Shaffer, marketing manager for sports car racing. "But race tire development is an on-going process, so the tires we've made are new but the process is not. Our experience gave us a starting point and we've made excellent progress since then."

The 2003 season begins with the Feb. 1-2 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Goodyear is the sole tire provider for the Daytona Prototype and GTS classes in the Rolex Series. All told, Goodyear expects to supply 2,500 tires for the teams in the famed endurance race.

Goodyear will provide six different tire codes for the new class and five of those codes are new. The new tires use the R370 and R480 compounds. The sixth compound is the Goodyear's famed rain compound.

No tire company has Goodyear's credentials, especially when it comes to racing at Daytona. That experience comes in handy when building tires for a new class of racecars.

"We didn't see one of the new cars on the track until November," said Chris Johenning, lead engineer for sports car racing. "The new chassis have been very efficient in making front downforce, but new rules have limited the rear wing size and thus rear downforce and stability. Our team of engineers has been working very hard to bring increased stability to the Daytona Prototypes by reducing front tire sensitivity and increasing rear grip. We believe the drivers will now have a greater confidence during corner entry." The 12-race 2003 Rolex Series campaign visits nine tracks. Two of those tracks, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the new Barber Motorsports Park, near Birmingham, Ala., were not on the 2002 schedule. The Mid-Ohio track was part of the Rolex Series in 2000 and Goodyear has a long history of success at the venue. The new track in Alabama gives Goodyear's engineers another hurdle to clear.

"We will continue to develop new tires as the season goes along," Shaffer said. "The input from the teams in the Daytona Prototype class has been tremendous."

Goodyear engineers also worked with the teams in the GTS class during the off-season, helping those racers prepare for the challenges ahead as well.

The teams in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series know they can depend on Goodyear for reliable, competitive tires.

-goodyear-

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Series Grand-Am