This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans not only saw Toyota win for the third straight time, but also saw the return of Goodyear to the international motorsport event after a 14-year hiatus.
Not only did the tire company make a comeback, but they also succeeded in making podium finishes thanks to two Goodyear partner teams. It was a hard-fought race, but British-based racing team JOTA and French outfit Panis Racing were able to grab second and third place victories respectively in the LMP2 class.
“We’re absolutely delighted with a double podium on our return to this incredible race. JOTA and Panis Racing both did a stellar job, and we’re proud to work so closely with them to maximize performance. We must applaud the ACO’s efforts to organize such a successful event after a difficult period. It’s great to be back,” said Ben Crawley, Director Motorsport, EMEA, Goodyear.
The JOTA team ran consistently at the front of the field during the entire race. The team could have had a chance to take the lead in the final stages of the race if only the safety car period had lasted longer. Nevertheless, the No.38 Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix da Costa, and Roberto Gonzalez performed superbly for 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Panis Racing Oreca car, which was driven by Nico Jamin, Matthieu Vaxiviere, and Julien Canal, put in a flawless performance on home soil.
Another Goodyear partner team, Algarve Pro Racing, was also able to finish the 24-hour race after securing the eighth place. There was, however, heartbreak for the two remaining Goodyear teams who were unable to finish the race due to technical issues; Jackie Chan DC Racing, and G-Drive Racing by Algarve. Still, Goodyear believes that the tire they specifically made for Le Mans helped the team finish the race amid the grueling conditions.
“It’s a shame for Jackie Chan DC Racing and G-Drive Racing by Algarve, especially as the Jackie Chan DC car led the race early on, but these difficulties are what makes the wins so much sweeter. The development work we’ve done directly with the teams has certainly paid off, as did the third ‘B spec’ compound that we designed specifically for Le Mans, which proved very popular and durable throughout the race,” said Mike McGregor, Endurance Program Manager, Goodyear.
Besides winning at the podiums, Goodyear also captivated the paddocks and fans with the return of their signature blimp. Operating 5 km away from Circuit de la Sarthe, the Goodyear blimp flew overhead for much of the race and provided unique aerial footage for motorsport fans worldwide.
“Our focus this weekend wasn’t just on the track, but in the skies above it, too. The first appearance of the Goodyear Blimp at a European race event since the 1980s was a huge occasion for us all and it was a huge success,” added Crawley.
With Goodyear performing stellarly at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, we won't be surprised if the tire company decides to join more racing competitions in the near future, complete with the blimp in tow.