Goodyear starts 2000 season at Daytona's Endurance Test

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2000) – Goodyear opens its 2000 racing season at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona International Speedway, North America's premier 'round-the-clock sports car race. This is the first race for the new Grand American Road...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2000) – Goodyear opens its 2000 racing season at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona International Speedway, North America's premier 'round-the-clock sports car race. This is the first race for the new Grand American Road Racing Association, the series known as the United States Road Racing Championship and Can-Am in previous years.

The course, utilizing the 31-degree NASCAR high banks and a fast and tight infield section, places a premium on tires that can handle the extreme side loads and g-forces on the banking as well as the heavy braking and hard acceleration in and out of the several low-gear corners.

"Building a tire for sports car racing at a track like Daytona is precisely the type of challenge Goodyear engineers look for," states Bob Shaffer, Goodyear's sports car operations manager. "Based on the times and tire wear we saw at the recent Grand-Am open test, we've been able to develop new tires that will meet the challenge of the race."

Goodyear will bring nearly 3,000 tires, including rain tires, to Daytona for the Rolex 24 Hours. That is approximately 1,000 tires more than Goodyear takes to a typical Winston Cup weekend. The tires will come in 13 sizes to fit the wide variety of racing machinery in the four racing divisions.

That effort is proof of Goodyear's commitment to field the best tire in sports car racing, says Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager for global race tires. "Goodyear has a long tradition in sports car racing, extending back to the early days of the sport," Grant says. "In fact, it was Goodyear's success in sports car racing in the 1960s that propelled us to the forefront in all types of racing during the next few decades and to the reputation for fielding a winning product that we enjoy today.

"Goodyear looks at all its racing efforts as business efforts and we find that there is good value in sports car racing, " Grant adds. "Our successes on the track in events like the Rolex 24 Hours helps both the racing teams that compete on our tires as well as the distributors that sell our tires.

Goodyear will be represented in all four classes at Daytona: Sports Racer for two-seat open-cockpit chassis and a trio of Grand Touring (GT) categories for production-based cars — GTO (Grand Touring Over), GTU (Grand Touring Under) and the V8-powered AGT (American GT) class. Cars are placed in the various GT categories based on a sliding scale of horsepower versus weight.

In the Sports Racer class, Goodyear Eagles are the tires of choice for defending Daytona winner Dyson Racing and the driving team of 1999 USRRC champion Elliot Forbes-Robinson, Rob Dyson, James Weaver and Max Papis. The team tested its new Reynard chassis at Daytona but has opted to race the proven Riley & Scott chassis that won the 1999 race.

The Goodyear-shod GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Corvettes from Pratt & Miller competing in the GTO class posted the fastest class times in recent testing. The team will field two cars at Daytona, one for Justin Bell, Ron Fellows and Chris Kneifel; the second for Kelly Collins, Franck Freon and Andy Pilgrim.

After extensive testing in 1999, the Goodyear Eagles on the Corvettes for 2000 will include new compounds and constructions, along with the famous yellow lettering seen on Eagles competing in NASCAR racing.

"The Corvette GTO program mirrors the commitment Goodyear is making to sports car racing," Grant says. "The Corvette is the great American sports car and the Corvette has been on Goodyear street tires since the beginning. It's only natural that when the Chevrolet Corvette goes racing, it runs on Goodyear Eagles.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers James Weaver , Chris Kneifel , Max Papis , Ron Fellows , Franck Freon , Andy Pilgrim , Rob Dyson , Justin Bell , Kelly Collins
Teams Dyson Racing