Kumho Tires will be the sole tire supplier for the next season of the Auto GP Championship, after an agreement between the Series organizer and the Korean manufacturer has been signed. And that isn't all, because Kumho's arrival in the Championship will bring along another interesting bit of news: the introduction, for the first time in Auto GP history, of two different specs of compound. In the same way as it happens in Formula One, the Auto GP teams will have two different tire compounds at their disposal, a "prime" and an "option" that will be different both in performance and durability.
The use of both specs throughout the weekend will be mandatory, but the teams will be free to choose when to use one spec of tire or the other, something that will make the Auto GP events even more interesting. Besides opening a broad range of new strategic options for the teams, the double tire specification will prove very important for drivers, who will finally have the opportunity to learn how to manage two different kinds of compound, one of the every-day tasks of an F1 driver.
With this news, Auto GP aims to further strengthen its role as one of the best schools for young talents aiming for a future in F1, a position that the Series was already holding steadily after announcing the introduction of a kers-like Overboost and the extension of the mandatory pit-stop to Race 2. Now that another one of the major news concerning the 2012 season has been announced, everything is ready for the start of the season, scheduled for 10-11 March in Monza.
Enzo Coloni: "Right from the start of our talks with Kumho, it was clear that their approach was a very positive one, aimed at giving us the best possible experience in terms of technical support. Not only they accepted with enthusiasm our proposal for the two different tire specs, but they also expressed a will to bring-on a constant development job working with us and the teams, something unique in the one-make series scenario. The first step of this process will be the creation of a special supersoft tire for the Marrakech round, a street track where we expect a very low grip level. For our drivers being involved in such a development plan will mean getting a know-how that they can't get anywhere else, a vital experience for their future".
Steve Thompson (Kumho Tires Europe): "We are delighted to be involved with Auto GP, and excited at furthering our involvement with up and coming F1 drivers that began with long term support for the F3 Euro Series and the annual Masters of F3 meeting. It was through these platforms we assisted the careers of current GP stars Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta, among others. Auto GP is the perfect showcase for us to display our ever-increasing capabilities and we will certainly make the most of the opportunity. On the technical side, the new tires provided our designers with a number of challenges. Firstly, they have to deal with the considerable power, speed and downforce created by these cars. Secondly, we were required to produce one compound that gave consistent performance throughout and one that initially performed better but also degraded faster - thereby providing the teams with a suitably demanding test of strategy and tire management. The first challenge was meat and drink to our designers, owing to the inherent characteristics of our tires. The second request was a harder nut to crack!".
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