Since 2015, the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) has run a curtain-raiser round of races on the Nürburgring Nordschleife prior to the start of the iconic Nürburgring 24 Hour race. This year’s pair of races were scheduled to take place earlier this morning, but the round was canceled just 15 minutes before the start of the first race. After near constant tire issues through practice and qualifying, it was deemed too dangerous for WTCR to race on the treacherous 15.7-mile circuit.
Goodyear exclusively supplies tires to the entire WTCR field, and its primary batch of tires was prone to fail over the Nordschleife track surface spontaneously. Lynk & Co driver and four-time World Touring Car Champion Yvan Muller had one of the roughest times with the faulty tires. He suffered punctures in both practice sessions as well as qualifying.
After qualifying, Muller said, “We have to survive tomorrow, but right now I have to tell you I am not sure if I will race. I don’t want to die.” It’s hard to disagree with Muller, considering how dangerous the Nordschleife can be with a fully functional car. Goodyear had supplied two additional tires to most of the entities hoping that it would alleviate the problem, but it simply wasn’t enough.
In the announcement of the round’s cancellation, WTCR stated, “Goodyear Racing confirmed that it could not guarantee that the tires provided for this event would perform as intended. Furthermore, Goodyear Racing confirmed that, at this stage, it was not able to provide conclusive reasons for the tire issues that have occurred during earlier track activity, until an exhaustive process of data analysis has taken place. This process is ongoing.”
Goodyear has stated, “Safety is our first consideration, and we understand the importance of giving drivers the confidence they need to perform on a circuit with the specific requirements of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. We are committed to conduct a full comprehensive technical analysis of the product as well as the tire usage based on the race conditions in view of the future FIA WTCR race events of the season.”
It is expected that WTCR will reschedule its Nürburgring round to later in the year, supporting a different event racing on the Nordschleife.