Dunlop joined the ultra competitive GTE-Pro class this year in FIA World Endurance Championship. The British brand is working with Aston Martin Racing in the premier Grand Touring class of the WEC.
Aston Martin Racing and Dunlop took the GTE-Pro class win at the 6 Hours of Mexcio and are leading the drivers', teams' and manufacturers' points standing.
Dunlop is also heavily involved in the European Le Mans Series as the exclusive tire supplier of the LM GTE class.
We recently interviewed Jean-Felix Bazelin, director of operations at Dunlop Motorsport about the brand's efforts in GTE-Pro with Aston Martin Racing the GTE ones in the European Le Mans Series.
How emotional was it to win the 6 Hours of Mexico with Aston Martin Racing?
It was an important win for Dunlop. Our first GT-Pro win since entering the category this year was a big motivator for the team. But more importantly, we were pleased with the durability and consistency of the tyre. The celebrations were brief as we are all focused on the next challenge – winning consistently and helping our partner win the championship.
Aston Martin Racing and Dunlop are leading all of the three GTE-Pro championhips with four rounds to go, did you expect these results in your first season in the class?
It isn’t a result until the end of the year. But we would rather be leading at this stage than being second. Aston Martin came to us because they felt we could provide more performance than our competition. Neither Aston Martin or Dunlop will be satisfied until we have consistent success.
GTE-Pro looks stronger than ever this year in FIA WEC, how challenging it is to compete against experienced competitors in class like Michelin?
Since 2013, the only class with tyre competition in FIA WEC had been LMP2. We had strong results in LMP2, winning the majority of races and six consecutive Le Mans 24h races. So we knew our strengths, but we also knew our competitors strength. That’s why teams in LMP1 and GTE have approached us, and our job is to consistently produce this class winning performance. We have a lot of experience in top level GT racing, winning the American Le Mans Series in 2010 and 2011, ELMS in 2012 and several VLN GT3 races with Audi, Mercedes and BMW. However, a new car brings new challenges and we never stop learning.
The GTE class in the European Le Mans Series is having a very competitive season, how important is the ELMS for Dunlop?
The ELMS is incredibly important. It visits six of the best circuits in Europe and Dunlop customers have won every race so far this year in the top prototype class. In GTE, we have a very different challenge than in FIA WEC. We supply every team in the ELMS GTE class, so our job is to make sure we provide parity and equal service to every team and car model. In WEC, we have to focus on making one type of car win! We are committed to ELMS and have a contract to help support, promote and grow the GTE class.
Photos: Dunlop / Clement Marin