Behind the scenes at Dunlop Motorsport
The FIM EWC is one of the few FIM championships to feature multiple manufacturers. Dunlop supplies tyres to more than 60% of the field, both factory and privateer teams. We met David Auerbacher and Wim Van Achter, Dunlop Motorsport’s two representatives in the endurance championship, to find out more about their dealings with the teams.
“We treat everyone the same way,” says David Auerbacher. “Each team sends their wheelman to the truck to get their tyres. We allocate tyres to each team depending on the circuits and the weather. There are always two or three options in the proposal our engineers draw up, which will be approved in the course of the week on the basis of the team’s strategy. For example, we’ll offer two rear tyres in Superstock depending on the number of stints the team opts to do before changing the tyre. Each team chooses on the basis of their strategy and the riders’ feedback.
“At Dunlop, as at the other manufacturers, racing enables us to work on the technological development of products. The factory teams race to win but they test and therefore make it possible for us to validate tyres. These teams receive prototype development tyres that the privateer teams will not get.”
“The development tyres are validated as part of the standard range the following year,” says Wim Van Achter. “But the factory teams often race using the standard issue tyres that are available to all teams, which proves that they are very competitive products.”
The factory teams also have a dedicated engineer. Julien da Costa works with Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and John Higgins with BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Other teams supported by a manufacturer such as VRD Igol Experiences and Moto Ain also have an engineer working with them.
Dunlop Motorsport in Endurance is also about impressive logistics with trucks carrying equipment material and a tyre fitting area. “We brought 3,500 tyres of all types to a 24-hour race like Le Mans or the Bol d’Or,” says David Auerbacher. “Here at Most, we’ve brought 1,500 tyres to satisfy the demand because we didn’t have much information about the track.
“Compared to other championships, Endurance enables us to validate tyre longevity and offers a variety of conditions, types of machines and riding expertise. That’s important for product development. Outside of the races, some Endurance riders are also test riders – for example, Markus Reiterberger and Kenny Foray (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) and Nico Terol (VRD Igol Experiences). And in terms of publicity, it’s an international championship that reaches a very wide audience.”