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SEMA 2019 - About That Yokohama Booth #MTSEMA19

Race car fan-boying over the tiremaker's two-story activation

Bob Hernandez
Nov 7, 2019

By now, you must have seen it. If you're not here in Las Vegas for the 2019 SEMA Show to see in person Yokohama Tire's two-tiered, one-of-a-kind race car display in front of the South Hall, then you most certainly have seen it online or in the social sphere somewhere. Let us tell you, it is some of the best use of empty shipping containers and the colors red and black we've seen at this year's industry mega-mixer—and even more impressive in person.

The colorway of the kiosk is based entirely around Yokohama's unmistakable motorsports livery, and in each of the containers sat a race car from the tiremaker's past—in a way, looking at the Jon Sibal-designed Pandem V1 widebody Toyota A90 Supra front and center of the display, as if to say, "Now it's your turn." We'll have more coverage of that MkV in a separate gallery from SEMA, but for a moment we want to give love to some of the other storied machines in the booth.

Top left and top right are both entries from different periods and classes of the American Le Mans Series, a prototype and sports car championship that ran in the early 2000s and ultimately morphed into the United SportsCar Championship. On the left is a Panoz Esperante GT-LM, which ran the red and black in 2007 for Tom Milner's Team PTG and in 2009 carried Dominick Farnbacher in the GT2 Class, the last year PTG campaigned the Esperante. The race version of the limited-edition sports car boasted an 476hp NA 5.0L Ford-?lan V8 and this one ran on Yokohama's ADVAN A005 slicks.

Yokohama 2019 SEMA Booth Esperante M3 Photo 15/15   |   SEMA 2019 - About That Yokohama Booth #MTSEMA19

To the right of the Panoz, one of the historic cars that preceded it at Team PTG, a BMW M3 E46 GTR. PTG was BMW North America's official works operation and brought the OEM into US sports car racing at first with an E36 M3. This E46—on ADVAN A005s and powered by a 4.0L V8 and not the inline-6 found in the street version of the M3—was driven by Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand, two of sports car racing's best, in 2006, the last year of BMW North America's involvement in ALMS; from 1995 to 2006, BMW of North America and Team PTG drove to 53 wins in 118 races entered, adding 14 championships to BMW's racing pedigree.

Yokohama 2019 SEMA Booth 911 GT3 Photo 15/15   |   SEMA 2019 - About That Yokohama Booth #MTSEMA19
Yokohama 2019 SEMA Booth Cayman GT4 Photo 15/15   |   SEMA 2019 - About That Yokohama Booth #MTSEMA19

The bottom row are Porsches representing Yokohama's modern era of motorsports support in the US and Canada, starting on the left with the Cayman GT4 Clubsport on ADVAN A052 rubber. The 981 was driven by extreme sports star Travis Pastrana at the 2018 Pike Peak Hill Climb, who set the class-winning time of 10 minutes, 33.897 seconds in 2018 in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division, currently a one-make run group for Cayman GT4.

A 911 GT3 Cup car sporting A052 soles was the Cayman's neighbor to the right, a 991 that's part of another North American one-make racing series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The championship entered its 15th season in 2019 and is the largest of Porsche's 20 single-make Cup Challenge series in the world.

Yokohama 2019 SEMA Booth STI Photo 15/15   |   SEMA 2019 - About That Yokohama Booth #MTSEMA19
Yokohama 2019 SEMA Booth Subaru STI Photo 15/15   |   SEMA 2019 - About That Yokohama Booth #MTSEMA19

But it wasn't all red and black in the Yokohama booth acknowledging its racing heritage. Walking in, there was no mistaking the iconic blue and yellow (er, highlighter yellow?) of the Subaru World Rally Team, except this livery was on a Vermont SportsCar-built 2019 WRX STI piloted by Subaru Motorsport USA's David Higgins and Craig Drew. Higgins just finished nabbing his second straight American Rally Association title in the machine, adding to his numerous rally championships and accomplishments. Big kudos to whoever came up with this exhibition concept at Yokohama - it's a winner.

By Bob Hernandez
838 Articles

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