Dunlop predicts bright future for Historic Motorsport


At the Historic Motorsport International (HMI) Show today, Dunlop signaled their optimism in the future of the sector.

The HMI Show, held in London, sees the wide range of companies involved in the Classic Car and Historic Motorsport markets meet to prepare for the coming season.

Dunlop is celebrating its modern-day successes, such as 2017 wins in the Le Mans and  Nurburgring 24h, but the tire company is also a major supporter of historic racing having recently confirmed its commitment to the continued supply of authentic 1950s and 1960s racing tires.

This commitment means that cars racing at iconic events such as the Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Festival of Speed can continue to use the original specification of the tire. This leads to handling characteristics that are exactly as the cars were in period, which would not be possible if the cars used Dunlop’s modern tire range.

In the Historic Racing market, Dunlop service over 30 events a year. This is managed by long-time Dunlop Service partner, HP Tyres.

Speaking on the HMI Conference Stage on behalf of Dunlop and HP Tyres, James Bailey outlined the importance of authenticity:

“Historic racing is booming, as circuits realize that nostalgia can draw more spectators than some modern races and seasoned racers choose the investment potential, and driving rewards, of a historic, classic or vintage car.  There is a genuine feel-good interest in nostalgia, and event promoters are capitalizing on this’ explained Bailey.

‘Innovative event promotion is key to the continued success of historic racing. This year is the 20th Goodwood Revival, and the fastidious attention to detail of such events means that authenticity matters. That’s why Dunlop believes in the FIA’s Appendix K regulations, which insist on authentic period tires.  We could easily develop a tire that makes these cars considerably faster, but we put our ‘go faster’ instincts on hold for this market and produce tires with the correct period performance. That matters, as the tire is the last balance of performance factor in historic racing. The level of car development may be higher than in period, leading to more power, but if all the cars have the same contact patch and same compound then the authenticity of racing is preserved”

Dunlop supply tires in the same designs as used in the 1950 and 1960s Le Mans and Touring Car events, meaning ‘fan favorite’ cars ranging from Jaguar D-Types to Lotus Cortinas and Alfa Romeo GTAs can race in a truly authentic style.

In addition to the 1950s and 1960s ranges, Dunlop introduced a new tire for 1970s and 1980s cars last year.  The new Sports Classic has a different philosophy to Dunlop’s classic race tires. Designed for road use, it may have a classic look and feel, but it is combined with modern handling and braking performance – important for road car drivers using their   cherished classics on public road