Michelin and its technical partner teams will face a new series of challenges as the TUDOR United SportsCar Series heads to the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for the Brickyard Grand Prix, Friday, July 25.
The first sports car event at IMS for Michelin and its GT Le Mans (GTLM) class technical partner teams from BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Dodge Viper SRT, Porsche North America and Risi Competizione Ferrari is also the first sports car event on the new 2.439 mile, 14 turn road course which debuted earlier this year.
“The new Indianapolis road course features very long straightaways with hard braking zones,” said Ken Payne, motorsports technical director for Michelin North America. “The temptation for teams will be to reduce downforce in order to maximize straightaway speeds and then rely heavily on the tires to handle the braking and cornering loads. If teams go that route, the key will be to avoid flat spotting tires and to maintain consistent handling and lap times over the longer runs.”
“The circuit runs clockwise, so with five left hand turns and nine right hand corners, the left side tires will be more heavily stressed. We may see some of our Michelin technical partner teams try split tire combinations with a harder tire solution on the left side than the right,” said Payne.
Michelin engineers will be closely monitoring track and tire temperatures for the two-hour 45-minute race from 5:45pm to 8:30pm. “The track gets cooler in late afternoon as the shadows increase and teams may even consider a softer tire option in the closing stages,” said Payne.
Michelin technical partner teams from Porsche North America (2) and Corvette Racing (4) have claimed the GTLM class victories in all the 2014 TUDOR Championship events held to date and Michelin teams currently hold the top nine positions in the GT Le Mans team championship.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.