Goodyear race preview

Team Goodyear Ready for Challenge at 24 Hours of Le Mans AKRON, Ohio USA, June 13, 2001--The 24 Hours of Le Mans classic endurance race played out annually on the world's stage will run June 16-17, with Goodyear, again, a big part of the ...

Team Goodyear Ready for Challenge at 24 Hours of Le Mans

AKRON, Ohio USA, June 13, 2001--The 24 Hours of Le Mans classic endurance race played out annually on the world's stage will run June 16-17, with Goodyear, again, a big part of the story.

Among the field will be 10 cars campaigned by seven teams, all with Goodyear tires gripping the racing surface. The tiremaker will supply 3,000 radial tires for the event. That total includes 34 different types of Eagle tires designed to cover a full range of ambient conditions and team-specific requirements.

"This is the biggest sports car race in the world," noted Bob Shaffer, Goodyear marketing manager of sports car racing.

However, Goodyear is supplying more than just tires to the event. The company's airship, Spirit of Europe, will be cruising the skies throughout the weekend supplying aerial views of the race for France 2 and 3, two of the nation's principal television networks. The networks are supplying the global feed of the event. The Spirit of Europe also will promote www.lemans.org, the official website of the race.

With the Indianapolis 500 rivaling Le Mans reputation as the most famous and difficult races in the world to win, Goodyear has a history of winning at both venues -- most notably in 1967 when A.J. Foyt won both races using Goodyear tires.

"Not since then has there been more excitement than now within Goodyear about going over there to race at Le Mans," Shaffer said.

One Goodyear team already has won a 24-hour race this season. Team Corvette captured the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February. Corvette will have two C5-R entries at Le Mans, as it did at Daytona and the famed 12 Hours of Sebring in March. The team is in the GTS class.

"Le Mans is the third leg of the Grand Slam of sports car racing," Shaffer said. "We're excited for Corvette to have such a good chance at Le Mans. They could make it two of three in class victories in the Grand Slam races."

Konrad Team Saleen, which won the GTS class at Sebring on Goodyear tires, will join Corvette among the GTS favorites. The Konrad team, driving the new Saleen S7R, won at Sebring partially because it was able to make up time by pitting for fuel only on two occasions, saving time by not changing tires. The team's Goodyears performed well enough through two loads of fuel that there was no loss of performance.

The favorites to win the overall victory will come from the prototype classes, the LMP 900 and LMP 675 groups. Goodyear has three entrants in the LMP 900 class. Goodyear-shod cars running in the LMP 900 class will be Team Den Bla Avis Dome-Judd, and two cars from Team Ascari.

In the LMP 675 class, Dick Barbour Racing will use Goodyears. The team was the class leader in the special practice session last month, and it won the LMP675 class of the European Le Mans Series last month in Spain while taking third overall.

In the GT class, the MCR/Aspen Knolls Callaway C12-R team will chase for a class win. The team will be the only non-Porsche in the class.

In addition to the 10 cars running on Goodyear tires, eight others will race on Dunlop brand tires provided by Goodyear's joint-venture partner, including two cars making the Team Bentley debut in the LMGTP class.

-Goodyear-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Dick Barbour , A.J. Foyt