Though the historic 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit notorious for its bravery checking high speed corners and its relentlessly bumpy track surface remains the same, this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 15 will be a bit different for Michelin.
Despite claiming the overall race victory at Sebring for the past 15 consecutive years with technical partners Audi, Peugeot, Porsche and BMW prototypes, a 16th consecutive Michelin win is unlikely.
Michelin is currently eligible to compete only in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the sole open tire class in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The powerful GTLM class finds Michelin as the technical partner of choice for the factory squads from BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Porsche North America and SRT Viper, along with the top independent Ferrari teams from Risi Competizione and Krohn Racing.
Amid a year of changes in the sport, one key element that has not changed is Michelin’s commitment to continuously develop innovative tire technologies through competition. “Sebring is a special place for sports car racing and for Michelin,” said Chris Baker, motorsports director for Michelin North America.
“Sebring presents a broad range of technical challenges that help us to develop the braking performance, turn-in and corning power that help our teams in competition and which translate into our latest consumer tires like the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3,” said Baker. “In addition, absolutely laser-beam-direct lineage to our work here in Sebring can be seen in the new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 being delivered as original equipment on extremely-focused but street-able cars such as the 991-chassis Porsche 911 GT3, the Ferrari 458 Speciale, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series and--in 2015--the new C7 Corvette Z07 Performance Package. Our track-to-street philosophy doesn't get any more apparent than that.”
Michelin is the official tire partner of Sebring International Raceway and the only tire maker inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame. In addition to the Turn 17 Bridge, pit lane and track signage, the Michelin Alley print publication, www.michelinalley.com site and @michelinalley Twitter feed will provide a steady stream of news, photos and insights for the fans.