Goodyear previews 6 Hours of São Paulo

This weekend, the FIA World Endurance Championship ventures across the Atlantic for the first time this season, with Brazil’s São Paulo making a long-awaited return to the WEC calendar.

Morris Schuring, Goodyear Wingfoot Award winner at Le Mans, looks back on a successful 24-hour race last month and previews the weekend ahead.

At the top of the Goodyear Wingfoot Award standings, Schuring trails local Brazilian driver Augusto Farfus by a single point, who has accumulated 51 points so far this season. The Team WRT driver ranked second at Le Mans, with an average lap time just 0.09 seconds shy of Schuring.

Brazil’s Autódromo José Carlos Pace, better known as Interlagos, is a 4.309 kilometre circuit which hosted its first race in 1940, and has since become an iconic motorsport venue. It welcomed WEC’s South American debut in 2012, and the championship returns this year for the first time since 2014.

Characterized by its technical, anti-clockwise layout, the track is a challenge for drivers and teams. And with a climate likely to throw changeable conditions into the mix, São Paulo will be all about making the right strategic decisions.

Speaking about this weekend at São Paulo, Schuring points out it’ll be the first time racing here after 10 years, so a new experience for him and many of his rivals: “After free practice we’ll know a lot more about what we have to race with,” he explains. “It’s been a long time since WEC was here but, looking back historically, it could be that it’s quite easy on the tires, or there could be higher degradation. We have experience here from testing, so I don’t expect any big surprises.”

Mike McGregor, Goodyear’s Endurance Program Manager, also comments on Brazil: “The circuit here represents a very different challenge to Le Mans. The go-kart-like layout rewards precision, and during the race the tires are almost constantly under lateral force to turn the car. Weather could also be a key factor here – if there are changeable conditions, the strategists must ensure stops are well timed. As we’ve seen this year, the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport racing tires are well suited to mixed conditions, provided drivers can maintain temperatures.”

Le Mans masterclass by Schuring and Manthey Porsche

The Wingfoot Award recognises the relentless performance and consistency of the best endurance racing drivers. At Le Mans, it was calculated over two consecutive stints, while all other rounds of the WEC are a single stint.

Fresh from his Goodyear Wingfoot Award and LMGT3 class victory at Le Mans, Manthey Porsche driver Morris Schuring explains what it means to be recognised as the fastest driver over two stints, which equates to 20 laps at Le Mans, or over 270 km.

“It feels really cool to win the Goodyear Wingfoot Award at the biggest race of the year,” said Schuring. “It shows that our team did a really good job, so I’m proud to be on top of those names and among the factory drivers at Le Mans.

“To be consistent you need to find a good rhythm. In general our tire is very consistent, so that helps us a lot. However you need a good sense of the tire, not push it to stay consistent over the stint.

“It was really tricky to make a decision between slicks and wets [during the race]. For us, the most important factor was maintaining temperature in the tires, because the slick was quite good even in rather wet conditions, so the strategy was to hold onto the slicks for as long as possible.”

“The tire is the only thing that connects the car to the track so if that’s not working, then you’re not going to be competitive. Understanding the tires is crucial. Also because we have to double or triple stint them – so for example we had 15 sets for 35 stints.”

6 Hours of São Paulo schedule (Local time GMT-3):

12th July
FP1 – 10h45
FP2 – 15h15

13th July
FP3 – 10h30
LMGT3 Qualifying – 14h30
LMGT3 Hyperpole – 14h50

14th July
R – 11h30

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