Motorsport article


Motorsport is not only in our blood, it’s in our tires. Motorsport has always been where Dunlop pushes boundaries, develops technologies and builds partnerships. What is learned on the track is applied on the road. Our engineers were the first to apply race tire performance standards to tires designed for everyday motoring. This unique approach offered motorists and their vehicles the quality, durability, and endurance of tires designed for the racetrack.

Victory in the 1902 Paris-Vienna race gave Dunlop an appetite for motorsport success, and by the 1920’s we were producing tires capable of speeds over 300 km/h, helping Henry Segrave to establish a land speed record of 372 km/h in 1927. Dunlop continued to develop record-breaking tires, eventually pushing the boundary to 634 km/h by 1947 with John Cobb’s Railton Mobil Special, establishing a record that would remain unbroken for 23 years.

Throughout this time, all the major car and motorcycle manufacturers looked to Dunlop for the tires they needed to win races. Dunlop’s first Grand Prix victory came in 1923, its first victory at Le Mans 24h a year later. By the 1950’s and 1960’s Dunlop dominated the racing scene on two wheels and four. 8 Formula One World Championship titles and 82 Grand Prix victories were celebrated with drivers such as Jack Brabham (Cooper), Phil Hill (Ferrari) and Graham Hill (BRM), Jim Clark (Lotus), John Surtees (Ferrari), and Jackie Stewart (Matra). That score keeps Dunlop in third place on the all-time list of Formula 1 Grand Prix victories.

Dunlop’s tally of victories at Le Mans 24h – the oldest, toughest, and longest race in the calendar – rose inexorably with five wins with Jaguar in the 1950s, five more with Ferrari in the 1960’s, and no fewer than nine with Porsche in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In all, 34 of the 71 Le Mans 24h races held have been won on Dunlop. Little wonder that Dunlop chose Le Mans as the focus of the company’s 100th birthday celebrations in 1988 and fittingly being rewarded with another one-two in the race that year.

It’s been a similar story on two wheels ever since the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championships were started in 1949. Dunlop riders have won more than 50% of all the 2321 Grand Prix held, collecting 105 World Championship titles along the way. In 2002 we won our 100th consecutive 250cc GP, and have just celebrated our 11th consecutive World Championship title in that category.

But these are merely some highlights of an involvement that covers over 100 years and every type of motorsport – rallies, circuit races, hill climbs, trials, and motocross. In every corner of the world Dunlop has left its sporting footprint.

Today, the motorsport industry knows there’s still no better way to test groundbreaking tires than during the intensity of competition. Dunlop agrees, with the German touring car series DTM being our main testing ground for our newest UHP tire, the SP Sport Maxx, and the World Supersport motorcycle category as the development bed for the D208. Dunlop has always been and remains committed to ensuring our tires deliver complete control and confidence - whatever the race, track, road, vehicle, or driver.