Bridgestone will support some of the biggest names in motorcycle road racing as the world’s largest tire manufacturer looks to extend its record winning streak at the Suzuka 8 Hours to nine consecutive victories.
This 37th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours takes place this weekend at the fabled Suzuka Circuit in Japan and will mark round two of the 2014 FIM Endurance World Championship; one of the few remaining international race series where tire manufacturers go head-to-head in competition. In 2013 Bridgestone continued its amazing run of success at the Suzuka 8 Hours by securing an eighth successive victory at an event where high humidity and ambient temperatures combine to create extremely challenging conditions for riders, motorcycles and tires alike.
Last year, the Bridgestone-supported MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda team of Takumi Takahashi, Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark won the Suzuka 8 Hours in trying conditions, completing a total of 214 laps (1,245km), while the second-placed Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team of Takuya Tsuda, Nobu Aoki and Josh Brookes also shod with Bridgestone race tires. Bridgestone was also the most represented tire maker in the top-ten finishing teams, with four top-ten entries.
This year, Bridgestone will support a star-studded cast of riders who will battle for glory at the race that is known as the “8 Tai” to the scores of local Japanese fans that flock to the circuit each year. MotoGP rider Broc Parkes, Suzuki MotoGP test rider Randy de Puniet, MotoGP podium-getter Katsuyuki Nakasuga, former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz, and a host of Superbike and Supersport riders from around the globe will be on Bridgestone tires as they vie for glory at the fabled Suzuka circuit.
Bridgestone’s push for a ninth-straight Suzuka 8 Hours victory takes place at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture Japan, from 1130 local time (GMT +9) on Sunday, July 27th.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The ‘8 tai’ is a remarkable race that features talented riders from across the globe on exquisite machinery battling it out at one of the most famous circuits in the world. It is an extremely trying event that demands the maximum from the rider, their bike and of course, the tires. Bridgestone has a long and successful history at the 8 Hours and as the Endurance World Championship is one of the few top-level motorsport series where multiple tire manufacturers go head-to-head in competition, this race holds special significance for us. tire performance is even more important this year, as the new FIM regulations for endurance racing means that each team can only use a maximum of seven tires for qualifying and fifteen tires for the race. This makes tire strategy a critical part in achieving a good result. Bridgestone is famous for its exploits in MotoGP, but the Suzuka 8 Hours provides us with another great opportunity to show the world that our motorcycle tires are unmatched in terms of performance, safety and durability.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle tire Development Department
“Suzuka is a technical circuit with many different types of corners and a high average speed. These factors combined with the timing of the 8 Hours in the middle of summer when there are very high ambient and track temperatures means that developing tires for this event is a major technical undertaking for Bridgestone. Our tires need to provide strong, consistent performance, durability and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and as one of the key times during the race is the rider’s out-lap after each stint, excellent warm-up performance is also very important for achieving a good result. Bridgestone’s record at the Suzuka 8 Hours is unmatched as our tires have been on the winning bike for the last eight years and we are highly motivated to extend our record-breaking run of victories this year.”