Yokohama Tire Corporation's 2011 motorsports program gears up
From rugged desert terrains to legendary tracks such as Sebring International Raceway, Yokohama Tire Corporation's motorsports program will be in full swing in 2011. Once again, Yokohama will be involved in off-road racing's SCORE, SNORE and Lucas Oil series, as well as endurance racing in the competitive ALMS classes. Additionally, Yokohama's breakthrough eco-racing campaign will continue in the GT3 and GTC series with its orange oil-infused ADVAN ENV-R2, the first - and only - environmentally-friendly tire used in a racing series.
"We're definitely ready and eager to begin our motorsports season," said Andrew Briggs, Yokohama senior manager of motorsports. "Cameron and Heidi Steele, both past off-road champions, are ready to reclaim their titles, and in ALMS, we have aligned with new racing partners."
"Our biggest achievement last year was the introduction and success of the ENV-R2 tire. From a performance racing standpoint, it exceeded all driver expectations. The racers in the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama gave it strong reviews, and it performed exceptionally well in the GTC endurance races. The ENV-R2 uses less petroleum than its predecessor, the ENV-R1; reducing petroleum inputs by approximately 20 percent and increasing recyclability while performing at the same level as previous compounds."
All told, Yokohama will participate in six race series during 2011, ranging from sports cars to off-road trucks. Series include:
IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama
This is the third year Yokohama is sponsoring the 16-race series (two races at eight venues). The ENV-R2 is the series' spec tire and will be on a fleet of Porsche 911 GT3 race cars at leading U.S. tracks such as Sebring, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta.
There will be fields of more than 30 cars vying for championships in two divisions: Platinum (for 2010-11 GT3 Porsches only) and Gold (2005½ - 2009 GT3 Porsches).
The series begins at Sebring, March 17-18. For details, visit http://www.imsachallenge.com/.
American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and GT Challenge (GTC) Class
This season, Yokohama and the West Racing Team are teaming up together to campaign an ADVAN A005 tire-shod Lamborghini in the ALMS GT Class. Drivers are veterans Nicky Pastorelli and Dominik Schwager.
Also new this season: Yokohama will be partnering with Paul Miller on his Porsche GT3 entry in the GT Class. The Porsche will be on A005 tires and will be driven by Bryce Miller and René Rast.
The nine-race series begins with the 12 hours of Sebring on March 19, and travels to many top courses, including Road Atlanta, where Yokohama is the "Official Tire." For details, visit the ALMS web site at http://www.americanlemans.com/.
For the ALMS GTC class, Yokohama's orange oil-infused ENV-R2 race tires will again be campaigned. A field of approximately 10 cars will compete at all ALMS events, including the endurance races, such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. More details are at http://www.americanlemans.com/primary1.php?cat=schedule|calendar.
SCORE International Off-Road Racing
The Yokohama-sponsored Steeles - Heidi and Cameron - have a score to settle this season. Heidi, a three-time titlist, looks to reclaim her Class 6 SCORE (Southern California Off Road Enthusiasts) championship, while husband Cameron, a Trophy Truck class veteran and TV commentator, is aiming for more podium finishes. Heidi is off to a great start, winning the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in San Felipe, Baja, Mexico, which took place March 11-13.
In 2008, Heidi etched her name in off-road history by being the first woman to win two major truck championships in one season - the Best in the Desert and SCORE. She also was named Dirt Sports magazine's 2008 Driver of the Year, becoming the first female to win the coveted award. Heidi's Ford Ranger runs on off-the-shelf Geolandar M/T+ tires.
Cameron, a two-time SCORE Person of the Year, has a new No. 16 Geiser Brothers Chevrolet truck this season. The 800-horsepower machine is mounted with 37-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S R tires specially engineered for extreme off-road conditions. The next race is the Baja 500 in Baja Mexico, June 3-5. For details, go to http://www.score-international.com/.
Cameron Steele, a two-time Unlimited Truck Class series champ, will pilot his new 800-horsepower Geiser Brothers Chevrolet truck (fitted with specially-engineered 37-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S R tires) at SNORE (Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts) events during the six-race 2011 season. Details can be found at http://www.snoreracing.net/.
Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series
Last season, Yokohama expanded its off-road activities by being an associate sponsor of the Lucas Oil Series. This year, Yokohama is partnering with Stronghold Motorsports and Cameron Steele in the Pro Lite Class. Steele will pilot Stronghold's 300 hp Pro Lite Unlimited truck (on off-the-shelf Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S tires) in the eight-race series, which combines the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing with a West Coast influence. Yokohama is additionally sponsoring Jimmy Stephenson - who will also be on Geolandar A/T-S tires - in the Pro Lite Unlimited Class. Other Yokohama sponsored drivers include Stronghold team member Brandon Bailey in the Pro Unlimited Buggy Class and FUNCO Motorsports' Chad George in the Super Lite Class. The season kicks off March 19-20 at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, visit http://www.lucasoiloffroad.com .