Endurance racing is one of the most interesting and exciting forms of motorsport, because it can be so unpredictable and gives plenty of room for teams to gain or lose ground. One of the most gruelling events in the endurance racing calendar is the 24 Hours of Nurburgring - combining the long race duration with the longest and most treacherous track in the world. Many teams enter the race - and even making it to see the chequered flag drop is an achievement all on its own.
This year, Team FALKEN Motorsports fielded two cars in the SP9 class, which follows the rough guidelines for the FIA-GT3 class. Both the BMW M6 GT3 and the Porsche 911 GT3R were decked out in the most instantly recognizable livery of all time - the signature two tone design with the scallops on the front door, a dazzling mix of teal and blue that is instantly recognizable no matter where they're racing in the world.
Despite the good weather through the race, numerous unforeseeable incidents wreaked havoc on team strategies and plans, forcing improvisation in order to survive the race. The BMW M6 GT3 started the race in 31st place, fighting through the field to take sixth place overall, an undoubtedly impressive display in adverse conditions. Meanwhile, the Porsche 911 GT3R managed a 20th place finish after 24 hours of racing.
The reality of endurance racing is that more than simply going quickly, drivers in large part have to learn how to manage their cars. This is what separates the good drivers from the great drivers, as an understanding of how best to balance pace and longevity is the key to maintaining the highest average speed and keeping the cars running well. Being a FALKEN team, both cars ran on slick tyres developed by FALKEN themselves - which was key to their solid performance through the race.
Not all motorsport tyres are created equal, and it's far harder to design a tyre for endurance than one for a shorter sprint race. Endurance racing may see track temperatures and surface conditions varying wildly, which means that the more consistent a tyre can feel through all of these constantly changing conditions, the better a driver can perform. It's a highly understated concept when manufacturers say that their road-going tyres are derived from motorsport experience, because there is an incredible amount of truth to the statement.
While FALKEN full slick tyres aren't available here, there is still a range of road-going FALKEN tyres that you can purchase at your nearest Stamford tyres outlet. The entry level Sincera SN832i fulfils tyre requirements from 12 to 16 inches in size, with 50 to 70 series sidewalls, with a focus on better economy and comfort. For the 15 to 18 inch range and 35 to 65 series sidewalls, the Ziex ZE914 combines low rolling resistance and low noise for great efficiency and refinement. Even further up is the Azenis FK510, sized for 17 to 22 inch wheels - as well as 17 to 21 inch wheels for the FK510 SUV range - and designed for better wet grip, braking performance, directional stability, and driving dynamics.
The nearest Stamford Tyre outlets in the Klang Valley are in Glenmarie (017 669 1219) or Cheras (012 722 7237), along with other FALKEN dealers. For more information, head to http://www.stamfordtyres.com.my/ or contact the Stamford Tyres office at 03 5569 3090/3094/3397.