Premium tyre manufacturer Yokohama is celebrating its 25th year of supporting the ultra-competitive Sports 2000 race series. As the official control tyre supplier to one of the UK’s fastest sports car series, Yokohama provides its A005 dry and A006 wet-weather radial tyres to the teams and drivers and has been integral to the ongoing success of the popular series.
Since 1976, Sports 2000 has generated some of the closest wheel-to-wheel racing anywhere in the country and has seen the likes of grand prix driver Desiré Wilson, Le Mans 24 Hour winner Nick Tandy and former British Touring Car Champion Frank Sytner compete.
Yokohama supplies tyres to Sports 2000’s Duratec class and its Historic championship for older Ford Pinto-powered racers. Yokohama’s ongoing involvement has been key in not only sustaining the championship’s competitiveness, but also ensuring many of these sports prototypes from the likes of Lola, March and Van Diemen still grace Britain’s racetracks.
The partnership is among Yokohama’s longest, dating back to the early 1990s. For the last 25 years Yokohama has supplied the control tyre to the championship, moving from the original cross-ply tyres to modern radials for the 2011 season.
Yokohama’s A005 tyres are manufactured specifically for Sports 2000 in Japan following a UK-led development programme. They are fine-tuned on UK racetracks, reflecting the close relationship between the premium tyre brand and the Sports 2000 championship.
The two-class championship represents some of the lowest cost, high-performance circuit racing in the country, with a focus on close and clean competition, a desire to race original cars and retain a supportive and friendly community.
Sports 2000 will visit six UK circuits in 2023, including Silverstone, Donington and Brands Hatch. Each will host two 20 or 25-minute sprint races, with an Oulton Park round seeing a 50-minute endurance event. Each year, the Sports 2000 tour visits an overseas circuit; this year Dijon-Prenois will play host to a non-championship round of three 30-minute races.
Yokohama’s support for Sports 2000 goes well beyond simply providing tyres for the championships. Yokohama offers awards for drivers throughout the system and supplies a brand-new set of slick tyres as a prize at each round.
Peter Fairlie, Chief Executive Officer at Yokohama HPT said: “We’re exceptionally proud to have extended our partnership with Sports 2000 into the next quarter-century. Over the last 25 years, our premium tyres have helped ensure Sports 2000 remains one of the UK’s most entertaining race series. It not only underlines our commitment to motorsport, but also reflects how important Yokohama is to the UK market.”
Sports 2000 president, Derek Bell MBE said: “We’re grateful to Yokohama’s ongoing support for our amazing race series. We couldn’t do it without them! With their help and support, we’re able to maintain a staggering level of competitiveness, ensuring our ever-growing community of drivers and teams is able to enjoy these wonderful sports prototypes around the UK and beyond.”