Goodyear Slick Operators

Sponsor, Brands, Specialists and Suppliers: The Companies that supported the Chapman /Lotus Road & Racing Programme

Goodyear Slick Operators


“There are three main reasons why a major manufacturer such as Goodyear takes part in racing

To show its products superiority,

To learn from the hardest testing ground of all

And to win.

In the 1978 F1 season, Goodyear did all three things and in front of millions of people “

Figure 1: Illustration by Hutton


Lotus cars sold

They were bought for their:-

  • Performance –road or track
  • Driving pleasure
  • Reputation and image
  • Aesthetics
  • Symbolism
  • Owner identification /personality extension etc.

All the above were integrated within a total framework design.

The above list is heavily dependent on a select group of components [either bought in proprietary or in house manufacture] that delivered the desired outcomes and met strict criteria.

Many of these components often contributed significantly to the overall aesthetic, many are extremely functional and beautiful in their own right .They formed part of a complementary whole.

In this series we examine:-

  • significant Individual components from all the marque types
  • Briefly explain their role /contribution /evaluation
  • Analysis form and function with regard to their integration, where appropriate
  • Provide suppliers/specialist advertising materials where appropriate

Understanding Lotus’s use of proprietary parts provides invaluable learning opportunities not just historical but right up to the present day. These lessons are not just applicable to automotive engineers/ designers but to the wider Industrial /Product Design professions.

The Skillful and creative adoption, absorption and integration of components was a powerful factor in the Chapman design methodology and contributed significantly to both competition and commercial success. It also feed his ability to mutate parts and materials to his desired ends.

The use of components is a fundamental skill of the Industrial Designer and the direct provision of added value.

The exact interpretation of sponsorship in conjunction with Lotus is difficult to establish objectively. The appearance of a sponsor’s logo on a car is not necessarily evidence of financial support. Access to historical archive and contracts is sought wherever possible but with the passage of time and for various reasons these are not always available or accessible to the public.

This series also embraces the specialist suppliers to Lotus. We are particularly interested in those suppliers and products that have a connectivity with aviation.

In constructing the historic sponsor series, the A&R looks only at the logos worn in period and assumes the company involved had no objection to Lotus promoting their products. The A&R sees much to be gained by the wider promotion of sponsors but in the event that a specific organization disapproves for any reason that article will be removed.

Sponsorship is an instrument of mutual benefit and promotion. Subscribers might like to see A&R articles on Sponsorship and Product Placement to understand the numerical / financial reach provided by sponsorship with its ability to identify and project status through identification.

The principle continues particularly with regard to education based exhibitions [see below for details]

Each of these articles is devoted to a company/ organization that is believed to have sponsored or supplied specialist items to Lotus.

The intention of each article is to: –

  1. Explain the sponsors own history and outline their products and services – past-present and future
  2. Explain the historical connection with Lotus and the contribution made both in competition and the production cars
  3. To suggest how these two interlocking facets may be translated into exciting, interpretive, educational and commercial exhibitions

Subscribers might to see complementary and structured pieces to this article: –

  • Primary sponsors like Gold Leaf / John Player Specials
  • Product Placement
  • Separate dedicated series on engines and gearbox
  • Logo on Lotus
  • See appendix below for other tyre supplies in this series

In this article the editors have drawn heavily on Henry 250 Grand Prix Wins.

Goodyear Company Profile /Abbreviated summary

Good Year is a long established American tyre manufacturer.

They have supplied aircraft tyres since the 1930’s

The company elected to support motor racing in order to change their image.

They have supported motor racing in the following: –

  • Indianapolis
  • Can –Am
  • F1
  • Le Mans

Their tyres have been equipped to many famous World championship cars [Brabham & Lotus etc.] including sports racing –Shelby Cobra and Ford GT 40

In period they had a base –Good Year Motor Corporation Racing Division, Bushbury, Wolverhampton.

Walt de Vinney was an important designer for Goodyear.

History and Products from the net etc.: –

“The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is an American multinational tire manufacturing company founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling and based in Akron, Ohio. Goodyear manufactures tires for automobiles, commercial trucks, light trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, race cars, airplanes, farm equipment and heavy earth-mover machinery. It also produced bicycle tires from its founding until 1976.[2] As of 2017, Goodyear is one of the top four tire manufacturers along with Bridgestone (Japan), Michelin (France) and Continental (Germany).[3]

The company was named after American Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber. The first Goodyear tires became popular because they were easily detachable and required little maintenance. [citation needed]

Goodyear is also known for the Goodyear Blimp. Though Goodyear had been manufacturing airships and balloons since the early 1900s, the first Goodyear advertising blimp flew in 1925. Today, it is one of the most recognizable advertising icons in America.[4] The company is the most successful tire supplier in Formula One history, with more starts, wins, and constructors’ championships than any other tire supplier.[5] They pulled out of the sport after the 1998 season. It is the sole tire supplier for NASCAR series.

Goodyear is a former component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.[6] The company opened a new global headquarters building in Akron in 2013.”

Good Year: Rolling Road R&D, the Chapman era

Goodyear success in part is a mix of factors’ have been good at: –

  • Tyre testing including the Predictive Testing of Race Circuits
  • Computerisation and simulation, introduced measuring equipment and provided the type of information never previously available
  • Application of advanced chemistry and structures but also recognising that tyre design is part art and part science#
  • They have made incremental improvements
  • Providing specialists at F1 events
  • Between 1975 & 1977 within the Chapman era they introduced the Vechicle Dynamics Programme which involved displacement transducers, accelerometers and steering angle transducers
  • Understood the aspect of heat and tyre pressure as applied to tyre design and construction
  • Innovated with slicks and the wrinkle wall
  • Undertaken a constant evolution of tyre technology
  • Enjoyed commercial success resulting from F1 feedback and publicity
  • Been consistent in manufacture –quality control- not a mean fete

#looking at compounds, polymer, fillers, oils, paraffin accelerators etc. And the impact of heat.

Tyre Testing


“Occupying a monopoly position can be a situation which can be exploited or abused, but Goodyear was determined to exploit it by using the opportunity to carry out research into the higher reaches of vehicle behaviour which only F1 can achieve.

Accordingly the 1975/76/77 seasons saw extensive work carried out on a sophisticated program in which F1 cars ran with a full complement of measuring instruments attached to them – instruments which could provide tyre and chassis technicians with the type of information never before available

Figure 2: Goodyear advertising materials

Figure 3: Goodyear advertisement calling attention to their aviation connection

In the Chapman/Lotus era the Company was identified with the following branches of motor sport

  • Indianapolis
  • Can Am
  • F1

Lotus Connections

Subscribers are invited to see the appendix below.

Figure 4: Goodyear advertisement benefiting from F1 Championship success

Figure 5: Editors sketch of the Lotus 78 wearing Goodyear tyres

Kettlewell 1978

“A company that enters GP racing does so knowing that it is laying its reputation on the line in the full glare of publicity and although success will be acknowledged, failure will be seen and noted by an enormous audience of knowledgeable fans.

Goodyear entered the 1978 season knowing that it was up against the strongest possible competition……

Mario Andretti driving a Goodyear shod Lotus, won the World Championship and Lotus the Constructors Championship “

Period Address for economic geography exercise

Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Co (Great Britain) Ltd,



West Midlands

WV10 6DH

Figure 6: Goodyear continued to supply Lotus into the turbo era, editor’s sketch of the Lotus 97T

Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

Understanding the potential of componentry particularly proprietary items provides some of the following learning opportunities; in this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  • Specific to Goodyear
    Which tyre manufactures have supplied F1 –produce spreadsheet on evidence indicating results/statistics- adopt the spreadsheet from appendix
  • Good Year gave Lotus the World Championships –in what years? With which drivers and cars? What role did the tyres play? [possibly use spread sheet to plot]
  • How has F1 tyre technology impacted on road tyres?
  • How has F1 helped manufacturers sell their products? – give examples
  • How and why is tyre technology important to F1 cars? Examine past and present giving examples
  • How can tyre technology contribute to greener motoring?
  • Taking Good Year as an example how and why has its advertising emphasis changed over time?
  • What is the Good Year logo? –debate its appropriateness
  • What is the future of tyre technology in 21st century?
  • What is the economic geography of tyre manufacture?
  • What is the chemistry and physical structure of tyres? How does it relate to chassis, suspension and aerodynamic design?
  • What is the size and value of the industry
  • How has it changed? And what is its future 2020 onwards?
  • Discuss the relationship with a multi-national mass-production brand/manufacturer and its links, how and why did it come into existence?


  • Use a technical dictionary where needed to define components and roles
  • Was there a viable alternative to the part under consideration?
  • Is what might it have been /cost?
  • Examine the suppliers/specialist advertising what does it convey? And what is its iconography?
  • Integrate this item with our series on the economic geography of motor sports locations and manufacturing bases
  • Has the component had exposure at any motor shows?
  • Does the company continue to supply classic/heritage parts?
  • What changes in technology and materials have impacted on Lotus through its history?
  • How does component design impact on form and function
  • Does the supplier/specialist have aviation links? If so what?
  • What is the importance of ergonomics and how does it influence modern automobile design?
  • Does excessive safety/ and or ergonomics impact negatively on aesthetics
  • What is the impact of standardization of platforms through mark ranges and indeed shared with other manufacturers? Could uniformity ultimately impact on sales even if economies of scale improved?
  • Enumerate Lotus bought in components
  • How has mass production and proprietary parts assisted the specialist car market?
  • Produce an engineering drawing of a selected component and consider the specification of the materials and assembly process, costs and volume
  • Explore an enumerate supplier/specialists components used in other Industrial Design fields
  • How did the supplier/specialist extract value from their sponsorship/support?
  • Explore Graces Guide for further background detail
  • Study the economic geography of the British auto industry what factors determined locations?
  • What have been the causes of change and circumstance that have impacted on British motor industry?
  • What has been the role of F1 /motor sport valley based around Bicester?
  • What is the importance of outsourcing to the motor industry?
  • Study a British car specialist like Morgan, TVR, Ginetta or Lotus where do they source parts? What are the advantages?

Figure 7: Changing sponsors but Goodyear still supplied Lotus, editor’s sketch of 99T

Exhibitions, Education, Economics and Entertainment

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In this instance we suggest the following exhibition titles might be appropriate:-

Figure 8: Possibly last in line of Lotus F1 cars with connectivity to Chapman.editors sketch of Lotus 107B on Goodyear’s


Lotus & Good Year Treads & Traction
Lotus & Good Year Treading Lightly on the Ground
Lotus & Good Year Laying a footprint
Lotus & Good Year Treading on toes
Lotus & Good Year Driving wheels & tyres
Lotus & Good Year Wheels of fortune
Lotus & Good Year Spinning wheels ,Smoking Tyres
Lotus & Good Year Get a Grip
Lotus & Good Year Getting a Grip on Power
Lotus & Good Year Putting the Wind in their sales
Lotus & Good Year Comes to Grips
Lotus & Good Year Rubber rubs off……..
Lotus & Good Year On the right Track
Lotus & Good Year Treads & Tracks
Lotus & Good Year Radical & Radial
Lotus & Good Year Tyred & Tested
Lotus & Good Year Eagles, Camels & Raging Bulls
Lotus & Good Year Aerodynamics & Eagles wings
Lotus & Good Year Golden Eagles
Lotus & Good Year A compound achievement
Lotus & Good Year Multiply
Lotus & Good Year Slick Operators
Lotus & Good Year An inflated sense of Importance
Goodyear Tyres,treads,temperature,thermometers and testing
Goodyear The Good the bad and the Goodyear
Lotus & Good Year Goodyear to come in F1
Lotus & Good Year Following a tread, staying ahead
Lotus & Good Year Getting a grip and gripe
Goodyear Not a patch on
Lotus & Good Year Tyre walls and wars on F1
Lotus & Good Year Goodyear’s and bad years in F1
Goodyear Getting their name in F1 Yearbook
Goodyear Tyres that deliver the Goods


  • Lotus Parts: Past ,Present Future
  • Lotus Parts: The Winning Factor
  • The Principle Part
  • Act the Part
  • Assign the Part
  • Lotus Components
  • Lotus Components :Parts and Parcel
  • Lotus Sponsors, Specialist and Suppliers:Form,Function and Forte
  • Lotus Components:Parts and Partiality
  • Lotus Aesthetics : With little to spare
  • Lotus Cars: Spare and Slender
  • Product launch with title of dedicated specific relevance

Figure 9: Editors sketch exploring relationships between sponsors branding and aesthetics

Conclusion: “The whole is greater………”

There can be little doubt about the significant contribution made by Goodyear.

They assisted Lotus achieve multiple F1 World Championships and many of their F1 cars over varying technologies and changes in regulations. Goodyear and Lotus made a symbiotic mix.

It’s been suggested that Goodyear allocated a 50/50 percent benefit between technical feedback and publicity.

Of course they also enjoyed success with other marques and drivers from Brabham to Stewart.

Components were material to reliability and competitiveness.

In the Chapman era it ought not be forgotten that Goodyear supplied tyres for virtually every other important category of motor radiant that benefits gleaned from F1 experience is passed on to its customers in these other classes.

This can be confirmed by examining Goodyear’s current statements about sponsorship support. See: Sponsorship Goodyear Corporate on the net.

They continue to innovate and inspire. Their contribution, products, research and development are worthy of wider publicity and dissemination.

“Goodyear’s portfolio of expertly crafted tyres delivers performance for motorists who want to get the most out of their driving experience.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company started life in 1898 with just 13 workers. Today, Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tyre companies and has offices in 22 countries around the world producing tyres that deliver outstanding performance and durability.

With over 100 years’ of tyre manufacturing experience, Goodyear is a familiar name across the world for its premium quality tyres which are designed with leading car manufacturers in mind. That’s why Goodyear’s superior quality tyre products have been selected as Original Equipment by many of the world’s leading car brands including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Land Rover.

Goodyear believes that innovation inspires you to do more and empowers you to discover your world of possibilities. From Lunar landings to 368 Formula One Grand Prix wins and land speed records like no other, the Goodyear brand has always been orientated around discovery, being the ultimate goal of every journey.

Goodyear’s tyre innovations include RunOnFlat self-supporting tyres that keep going even in the event of a blowout, ActiveCornerGrip and ActiveBraking which deliver improved braking and cornering respectively, and SmartWear technology for continuous resistance to aquaplaning throughout the tyre’s life”

Chapman’s design and manufacturing methodology rather confirms the adage that “the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts”.

It’s an interesting an important study to consider deployment of components. It contributes to aesthetics, assembly economics and sales [attractive components/ known accepted performance and servicing ability etc.]

It is equally and mutually relevant and beneficial to the component manufacturer.

Chapman and his colleagues often took the best / most appropriate mass produced item and almost reinvented it in its service to design objectives. In this manner many components acquired a new status and indeed their aesthetic was enhanced surrounded by the Chapman conceptual whole.

It’s also extremely significant how many of these components were also used in Lotus competition cars. This created a powerful dynamic and interrelationship. Many components:-

  • Performed well in competition gaining beneficial publicity and sales
  • Both the component and racing reputation carried through to road cars and assisted sales
  • The component manufacturer gained disproportionate publicity and assisted products sell in other applications
  • All together a beneficial spiral was commenced. Publicity of the era often opted to highlight the Lotus dimension in publicity material. In fact there was a powerful synergy.

The relationship between Lotus and is sponsor specialist suppliers is significant and worthy of close study and has lessons for Engineering, Industrial Design and Manufacturing disciplines.

Along the way it’s possible too to study the wider British motor component industry and how it has helped foster the specialist car manufacturers.

Sponsorship is a worldwide phenomenon of immense commercial impotence. Both to host and sponsor organization.

With the Passage of time it’s likely to become more sophisticated and focused and the internet /multimedia technology will play greater role.

Sponsors have existed in motorsport before Chapman but he vigorously exploited the concept with Gold Leaf c 1967/68 and set a pattern for others to follow.

Sponsors of Lotus were likely to benefit financially and in terms of exposure to an extent greater than their investment. The benefits were, and remain essentially similar to present day:-

  • Access to mass international audience consistent with mass production distribution marketing branding etc.
  • Demographics of viewing audience and interest groups
  • Additional subsidiary /secondary advertising through media, news, magazines etc.
  • Identification with market /brand /marque leader in both F1 and road cars
  • Association with success and continuity evolving, developing technology, materials etc.
  • In period the identification with the charm ,charisma and ability to articulate that Chapman possessed
  • All the attendant glamour , drama ,danger ,and spectacle of F1
  • Ability to provide conducive hospitality to conduct business
  • Cost effectiveness of audience cost ratio
  • Possible further complex corporate benefits

Appendix 1: Lotus type numbers and tyres

Type No. Formula Year
12 Two 1957 TBC
16 One 1958 TBC
18 Junior 1960 Dunlop R5
18 One 1960 TBC
20 Junior 1961 TBC
21 One 1961 TBC
22 Junior 1962 TBC
24 One 1962 TBC
25 One 1962 Dunlop
27 Junior 1963 TBC
29 Indianapolis 1963 TBC
31 Three 1964 TBC
32 Two 1964 TBC
32B Tasman 1964 TBC
33 One 1964 TBC
34 Indianapolis 1964 TBC
35 Two 1965 Dunlop R7
35 Three 1965 Dunlop R7
38 Indianapolis 1965 TBC
39 Tasman 1965 TBC
41 Three 1966 TBC
41B Two 1967 TBC
42 Indianapolis 1966 TBC
42F Indianapolis 1967 TBC
43 One 1966 TBC
44 Two 1966 TBC
48 Two 1967 TBC
49 One 1967 TBC Firestone?
51 Ford 1967 TBC
55 Three [prototype] 1968 TBC
56 Indianapolis 1968 TBC Firestone?
56B One 1971 Firestone?
57 One 1968 TBC
58 Two 1968 TBC
59 Three 1969 TBC
59B Two 1969 TBC
59F Ford 1969 TBC
61 Ford 1969 Firestone
63 One 1969 TBC
64 Indianapolis 1969 Firestone
68 A 1969 TBC
69 Three 1971 TBC
69 Two 1970 TBC
69F 1971 TBC
70 A/5000 1970 TBC
72 One 1970 Firestone
73 Three 1972 TBC
74 Two 1973 TBC
76 One 1974 Goodyear
77 One 1976 TBC
78 One 1977 TBC
79 One 1978 TBC
80 One 1979 TBC
81 One 1980 Michelin
86 One 1980 TBC
87 One 1981 Michelin Goodyear
88 One 1981 TBC
88B One 1981 TBC
91 One 1982 Goodyear
92 One 1982 Pirelli
93T One 1983 Pirelli P7
94T One 1983 Pirelli
95T One 1984 Goodyear
96T One 1985 TBC
97T One 1985 Goodyear
98T One 1986 Goodyear
99T One 1987 Goodyear
100T One 1988 Goodyear
101 One 1989 Goodyear
102 One 1990 Goodyear
102B One 1991 Goodyear Eagle
107 One 1992 Goodyear Eagle
107B One 1993 Goodyear Eagle
109 One 1994 Goodyear Eagle

Appendix 2: Goodyear race results taken from Goodyear 250GP wins

GP Event Year Driver Car
Argentine 1973 E.Fittipaldi Lotus 72D Ford
Brazilian ditto E.Fittipaldi Lotus 72D Ford
Spanish ditto E.Fittipaldi Lotus 72D Ford
French ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72D Ford
Austrian ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72D Ford
Italian ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72D Ford
Watkins Glen ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72D Ford
Monaco 1974 Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72D Ford
French ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72D Ford
Italian ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72E Ford
Japanese 1976 Mario Andretti Lotus 77 Ford
US Grand Prix West 1977 Mario Andretti Lotus 78 Ford
Spanish ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 78 Ford
Belgium ditto Gunnar Nilsson Lotus 78 Ford
French ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 78 Ford
Italian ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 78 Ford
Argentine 1978 Mario Andretti Lotus 78 Ford
South African ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 78 Ford
Belgium ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 79 Ford
Spanish ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 79 Ford
French ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 79 Ford
German ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 79 Ford
Austrian ditto Ronnie Peterson Lotus 79 Ford
Dutch ditto Mario Andretti Lotus 79 Ford
Austrian 1982 Elio de Angelis Lotus 91 Ford
Portuguese 1985 Ayrton Senna Lotus 97T Renault
San Marino ditto Elio de Angelis Lotus 97T Renault
Belgium ditto Ayrton Senna Lotus 97T Renault
Spanish 1986 Ayrton Senna Lotus 98T Renault
US GP ditto Ayrton Senna Lotus 98T Renault
Monaco 1987 Ayrton Senna Lotus 99T Honda
US GP ditto Ayrton Senna Lotus 997 Honda

Appendix 3: Main tyre manufacturer in F1 history

Tyre Manufacturer Adopt benchmarking criteria


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