As the 2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) came to a close at Saturday's 14th annual Petit Le Mans in Atlanta, the series' champions in both the Prototype and GT classes rolled to victory on Dunlop tires.
In the Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) class, the No. 16 Dyson Lola-Mazda dominated the points standings, winning the drivers' championship for Guy Smith and Chris Dyson, the team championship for Dyson Racing and the manufacturer championship for Mazda. Dyson's success also led Dunlop to its first ALMS tire manufacturer championship.
"We really had a great season in 2011. The target was to win all the championships and we've achieved that," said Dyson. "We worked so hard over the winter to develop the tires and the performance and durability kept going up through the roof. We met and raised our opposition at every turn."
In the GT class, the pair of BMW M3 GTs of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing also reigned victorious. A third-place finish in Atlanta was enough to bring home a second-consecutive manufacturer championship for BMW, as well as the drivers' championship for Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, and the team championship for Team RLL - all on Dunlop tires.
"When you look at where we started in 2009, the progress through 2010 and then where we are in 2011 - coming out of the trailer at every event and being strong - this is a testament to everyone working together: BMW, Team RLL and Dunlop," said Hand. "I've worked with a lot of tire manufacturers and I've never seen the amount of dedication and preparation that I've seen in my time working with Dunlop."
Dunlop has been BMW Team RLL's tire provider since the launch of the M3 GT program in 2009, and the racing tires have been credited for helping the team mature and develop into a consistent performer and winner.
Because most ALMS races are lengthy in laps and overall racing time, the teams switch drivers throughout the competition during pit stops. The tires, especially, must be consistent for long runs, and the Dunlops have been praised by the team for their continuing improvement.
"This has been an incredible season for Dunlop, and we're very proud of the achievements of both Dyson Racing and BMW Team RLL this year," said Jonathan Lee, Dunlop brand general manager. "These championships are a true testimony to the strength of our teamwork and Dunlop's ability to build excellent tires."