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Yokohama concedes 2024 NISMO tyre supply deal unlikely

Yokohama has played down its chances of being able to supply the two works NISMO-run Nissan GT500 cars in SUPER GT next season, suggesting that the deal looks likely to go to Bridgestone.

The #23 and #3 Nissan Zs will need a new tyre supplier for 2024 and beyond following Michelin's shock decision, announced earlier this year, to withdraw from the GT500 class upon the conclusion of the current season.

Yokohama currently supplies only the Kondo Racing Nissan squad and Toyota outfit Racing Project Bandoh, and has enjoyed a resurgence in form since last year, culminating in its first GT500 victory in seven years in June's Suzuka race.

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However, Nissan opted to conduct its first 2024 test last month at Okayama using Bridgestone tyres in a sign it could be preparing to revitalise a relationship that ran through the 1990s and 2000s.

Nissan itself has been tight-lipped on which tyre brand NISMO will use next year, saying that the choice to use Bridgestone was purely a logistical one, and that the next test will take place using Michelins.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Yokohama's SUPER GT development manager Takayuki Shiraishi said the firm would be eager to expand its roster of GT500 cars for next season, but that no such talks have taken place.

"If we get some more offers from outside, then we will prepare to supply more cars," Shiraishi said. "But so far, we've not had any offers, unfortunately."

Asked whether any discussions had specifically been held with NISMO about next year, Shiraishi replied: "Currently, no."

 

Shiraishi added he feels that if Bridgestone supplies the two NISMO cars next year while maintaining its existing 10 cars, the series would become too imbalanced between the remaining participants in the tyre war.

"If Bridgestone supplies 12 cars, and we are only supplying two cars and Dunlop one car, I think we need to talk to the GTA about some kind of regulation change, because it is not equal conditions for the three tyre manufacturers," he said.

"[Although Yokohama and Dunlop can test more] the most useful information and knowledge is generated in the race. So if Bridgestone has 12 cars, their advantage in terms of gathering data is even larger, and that will affect the [relative] performance.

"To have two more cars would be great for us in terms of gathering data and gaining experience to help our tyre development."

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As well as its two GT500 teams, Yokohama also supplies the bulk of the GT300 class grid, with 16 cars of the 27 on the grid using its products.

Shiraishi said any increase in the number of GT500 teams it supplies would likely mean dropping some GT300 customers.

Motorsport.tv is showing all qualifying sessions and races for the 2023 SUPER GT season. For more information, click here.

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