Bridgestone previews the Suzuka 8 Hours
Round two of the 2013 FIM Endurance World Championship Series, the Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka Eight Hours Endurance Road Race takes place this weekend and Bridgestone will be chasing a record-breaking eighth consecutive victory at this prestigious event.
Since 2006 Bridgestone has supported the winning team at Suzuka, with its record of seven consecutive wins at this race being unmatched. Taking place at the legendary Suzuka Circuit this year marks the 36th edition of this revered road race and Bridgestone will support a total of nine teams including F.C.C. TSR Honda (J.Rea, R.Kiyonari), Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team (K.Tsuda, N.Aoki, J.Brookes), MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda (T.Takasahi, L.Haslam, M. Van Der Mark) and TOHO Racing with MORIWAKI (T.Yamaguchi, S. Itoh, K.Watanabe)
Last year the F.C.C.TSR Honda outfit of Jonathan Rea, Kosuke Akiyoshi and Tadayuki Okada won the race on Bridgestone tyres after starting fourth on the grid, while another Bridgestone-supported team TOHO Racing with MORIWAKI claimed second place. The F.C.C. TSR Honda team won the race after working their way through the front-runners in the middle phase of the race and maintaining a strong, consistent pace to complete 215 laps in eight hours. F.C.C.TSR Honda has won two successive victories at the Suzuka 8hours with Bridgestone.
In the Suzuka 8hours, tyres are one of the key factors in the performance of the teams and the Endurance World Championship is one of the few remaining road racing series where multiple tyre manufacturers go head-to-head in competition. The teams supported by Bridgestone benefit from the Japanese tyre manufacturer’s years of MotoGP experience and proven track-record at developing tyres with superior performance, safety and durability.
The Suzuka 8hours is held in July during the hot summer season in Japan, so track temperatures are usually high. In 2012, the high ambient temperatures of 30-32°C resulted in track temperatures ranging from 38-56℃ during the race. In such severe conditions it is necessary for the tyres to be stable, durable and provide consistent performance. The winning team at the Suzuka 8hours usually completes about 215~217laps in dry conditions and in this time will use eight sets of tyres. Each stint is about an hour in duration, meaning one set of tyres will complete approximately 26~27 laps (151.3~157.2Km), so good tyre durability is a necessity.
Suzuka is a high speed circuit; last year’s winner F.C.C. TSR Honda completed the 215 laps at an average speed of 155.92 km/h. This average speed includes the time taken for pit stops, so the tyres must be durable and also offer high performance throughout their life.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“We have seen many wonderful races at Suzuka 8hours over the years and I am proud of the fact that Bridgestone has won the last seven races here and that once again we are supporting so many top teams at this event. Despite our past success we will not rest on our laurels and will be giving everything to try and achieve an eighth consecutive victory. The Suzuka 8hours is a rarity in road-racing at the moment as different tyre manufacturers get to compete on the track and this is just one element that gives endurance racing such a high appeal, and our success has come through winning many tough races. Bridgestone will have an attractive promotional booth at the Suzuka vending zone this weekend as the 8hours is a big event on the calendar for our domestic Japanese market.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The main feature of the Suzuka 8hours is the riders have to complete long distances at a fast average speed on a track with high track temperatures. This means the main focus of our tyre development for this race is to produce tyres that provide consistent grip and durability. The out lap after each stint is also one of the key points to scoring a good result as the riders need to push at one-hundred percent as soon as they pit out, so excellent warm-up performance is also very important. For these reasons the Suzuka 8hours is quite a challenging race for us, but we are proud to have supported the winning team for the last seven years. It proves that we can develop a very high performance tyre to beat our competitors in the toughest conditions and this year we will support nine teams in their pursuit of victory.”