Dunlop-equipped cars take home driver and team championships in LMP1 and GT classes, with a race to spare
There may be one race left in the American Le Mans Series’ (ALMS) 2011 season, but Dunlop tires have already helped clinch five championship titles.
The achievement came after a strong performance by Dunlop-equipped cars during Saturday’s running at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
In the Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) class, the No. 16 Dyson Lola-Mazda of Guy Smith and Chris Dyson took second place, securing enough points to take home the driver and team championships. The win also gave Dunlop the lead needed to take home the LMP1 tire manufacturer championship.
“Dunlop tires have performed strong for us all year,” said Smith. “Some would say it was a gamble two years ago to go with them, but they have proven this year to be the tire of choice.”
In the competitive GT class, BMW Team RLL secured its second consecutive team championship on Dunlop tires, with a second place finish by Dirk Müller and Joey Hand in the No. 56 BMW M3 GT. The podium finish also earned Müller and Hand the GT driver championship.
"We knew it would take a strong commitment from everyone to win a second consecutive team championship in the ALMS GT class – and it was evident from the first test of the year that Dunlop was going to make every effort to help us accomplish that goal,”said Bobby Rahal, team principal for BMW Team RLL. “They worked every single day to give our BMW M3 GT the chance to win, and we are very proud to have Dunlop tires on our car and as part of our organization."
Dunlop has been BMW Team RLL’s tire provider since the launch of the M3 GT program in 2009, and the racing tires have been credited for helping the team mature and develop into a consistent performer and winner.
“Winning any championship takes a team effort, so we’re very proud of the relationships Dunlop has built with BMW Team RLL and Dyson Racing this season,”said Jonathan Lee, Dunlop brand general manager. “These championships are a true testimony to the knowledge, craftsmanship and technology that goes into every Dunlop tire."
Because most ALMS races are lengthy in laps and overall racing time, the teams switch drivers throughout the competition during pit stops. The tires, especially, must be consistent for long runs, and this season Dunlop has provided traction for the series’ top teams in both the LMP1 and GT classes.
The final round of the American Le Mans series, Petit Le Mans, takes place at Road Atlanta on October 1. There, BMW Team RLL will have the opportunity to add the GT class tire manufacturer championship to Dunlop’s list of ALMS victories.