Dunlop has offered an incentive to teams competing in the LMP2 class in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with the chance to secure free tyres for the rest of the season if an LMP2 machine can finish in the top three overall.
The whole LMP2 field is supplied by Dunlop for the race this season, with the special prize being put up by the tyre supplier ahead of the French classic.
While such a result would be seen as a huge surprise, given the strength of the current LMP1 field, Dunlop has already seen one of its LMP2 entrants on the overall podium in the World Endurance Championship this season – with Starworks Motorsport taking a top three finish in the opening round of the year at Sebring.
With Dunlop-shod cars in all four classes, hopes are high of a strong showing at the Circuit de la Sarthe in what will be Dunlop's biggest event of the year on four-wheels.
“Le Mans is the highlight of our car racing season and the peak of Dunlop Motorsport's four wheel motorsport programme,” Dunlop Motorsport director Jean-Felix Bazelin said. It's a long race with high ambitions for many people where dreams are made and dreams are broken. For the teams and their cars it's a fine line between having sufficient performance to go fast enough, and being reliable enough to finish the 24 hours.
“When we consider the tyres for this event we are mindful that the course is very long; one lap of Le Mans is like two laps of another circuit. It's semi-permanent in nature so we have to contend with a track surface which is dirty from the cars, motorcycles and lorries which have used it right up to the week of the race.
“This means that the track surface features roadside debris as well as having standard tyre compounds on it. Equally there is a non-public road section meaning there are different surfaces to contend with. On the public road section, different elements are repaired when necessary so there are a variety of surfaces there too.
“It's a high speed track with over 300kph attained approximately three times during the straights and in the quickest corner, Indianapolis. This high speed means high stress for the tyres as today's prototypes produce very high levels of downforce, which means high loads on the tyres. For this we need to ensure that the structural integrity of the tyre is faultless.”