NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announced yesterday that Hoosier Racing Tire will become the series’ new sofficial tire supplier after parent company Continental AG extended their contract to supply tires to Euro Series until 2027.
A bombshell news was announced yesterday by NASCAR Whelen Euro Series after the series announced that Hoosier Racing Tire will become the series’ new official tire supplier on a seven-year contract.
The switch to Hoosier showcases the commitment made Hoosier’s parent company Continental AG to supply tires for Euro Series, as the 7-year Hoosier tire contract would replace the existing six-year contract with General Tire, another tire brand owned by Continental.
“NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Hoosier Racing Tire make ideal partners, not least because of the rich American heritage we share,” said Joerg Burfien, President of Hoosier Racing Tire. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities in this thrilling and fast-growing motorsport setting and also to further strengthen our brand’s footprint in Europe.”
The change to Hoosier meant that Hoosier will now become the sole tire supplier for two NASCAR series’, having previously been chosen as the sole tire supplier for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. It also meant that Hoosier will become the fourth different tire supplier for the series following stints with Michelin, BFGoodrich, and General Tire.
Hoosier’s contract also further affirms NASCAR’s commitment to run the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the future, which has showcased a tremendous amount of growth heading to the series’ historic 10th season under NASCAR’s jurisdiction this year.
“We are very proud and happy about this long-term partnership with Hoosier Racing Tire,” said Euro Series President/CEO Jerome Galpin. “A new seven-year commitment is a huge demonstration of confidence in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and its future. With Hoosier Racing Tire we share the same strong desire to further develop EuroNASCAR reaching new heights and promote the Hoosier Racing Tire brand across Europe.”
“In less than 10 years, the NWES has become one of the most spectacular and attractive series in Europe with more than 30 cars on the grid, tens of thousands of fans visiting our events and very strong partnerships with world-leading companies supporting EuroNASCAR. This is another huge step forward for the series and the sky’s the limit!”
Hoosier has had a long history of involvement in stock car racing ever since Hoosier first entered NASCAR in 1988. Hoosier, who managed to overcome the fact that they only have 16 employees to provide tires for the entire Cup Series field at the time, challenged Goodyear in the infamous tire wars saga.
While Hoosier runners did score multiple victories early in the series, the tire war was mostly remembered for multiple controversies such as the blowouts during the 1988 Coca-Cola 600 and multiple disqualifications for both Goodyear and Hoosier for bringing tires that didn’t meet the requirements.
Despite winning the Daytona 500 with Darrell Waltrip the following year, Hoosier withdrew early in the season after Goodyear’s new radial tires gave them the edge that Hoosier can’t challenge upon, but later made a return to the Busch Series in 1991 before rejoining the Cup Series for a second tire war in 1994.
The results of the second tire war saga were just as disastrous as the first one. Two drivers that ran the Hoosier tires, rookie Rodney Orr and the highly popular veteran Neil Bonnett, were killed in separate crashes during practice of Hoosier’s return race, the 1994 Daytona 500. While Orr’s crash was ultimately revealed to be caused by a broken mounting stud, their deaths foresaw multiple catastrophic tire failures throughout the 1994 season, most infamously Ernie Irvan’s near-fatal crash at Michigan.
Hoosier runners did score 12 pole positions and 4 race wins in 1994, but the controversies, lack of driver support for the idea of having multiple tire suppliers, and rising costs led Hoosier to withdraw from Cup Series at the end of the season. Hoosier then became the official tire supplier for ARCA the following year, a contract that lasted until 2015 when Continental bought Hoosier and replaced the Hoosier-branded tires with General Tire-branded ones.
ARCA’s acquisition by NASCAR in 2018 meant that Continental currently holds the tire supply contract for all NASCAR regional and international series, spread between the General Tire and Hoosier brands.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will have their first running with the Hoosier tires on 17-18 April with the season-opening round, NASCAR GP Spain, at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
“We are very much looking forward to the coming years, we have developed a great NWES tire that will suit not only all levels of drivers but also perform on multiple different circuits and challenging conditions during the season across Europe, said Martin Heckers, Head of Hoosier Racing Tire Europe.
“NWES has proven to be a great place for real racers and real racing brands, even during the challenging 2020 season it was impressive to see, how the NWES family moved even closer together and delivered exciting races despite the challenging times.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.