Michelin technical partner teams carry the momentum as they take on a “momentum” track and savor the rare opportunity to compete for an overall race win as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship heads to the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), August 24.
“Drivers in the GT Le Mans Class typically need eyes in the back of their head,” said Ken Payne motorsports technical director for Michelin North America. Drivers in the production based GTLM class - BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Dodge Viper SRT, Porsche North America, and the Road America class winning Risi Competizione Ferrari - not only focus on the road ahead and their class competition, but also must constantly watch for the featured prototype cars. That is not the case here at VIR where the GTLM and pro-am GT Daytona (GTD) cars are the featured category.
“Racing as the featured category will be a rare treat for the GT drivers,” said Payne. “They won’t have to deal with the different performance characteristics of the GTs and Prototypes and the resulting traffic that often breaks their momentum.”
Momentum is a great friend of race drivers, allowing a continuous flow from corner to corner optimizing the power and handling of the car. That is especially true at a circuit like the 3.27 mile, 17 turn, Virginia International Raceway, where the speed, elevation changes and variety of corners reward a smooth, clean racing line and consistent handling.
“Being able to establish a consistent rhythm in the car allows the drivers to build confidence and extract all of the performance that the car and tires provide,” said Payne.
Michelin technical partner teams enter the two-hour 45-minute race, the ninth GTLM stop on the 11 race 2014 TUDOR Championships, with considerable momentum. Through the first eight GTLM events, eight different Michelin drivers have claimed the class pole and eight have set the fastest race lap. Each Michelin technical partner team has claimed at least one class pole, a fastest race lap and scored three or more podium finishes with four of the five Michelin technical partner teams, Corvette Racing (4), Porsche North America (2), Dodge Viper SRT and Risi Competizione Ferrari have GTLM race wins.
The Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 at 4:00 pm (EDT), Sunday, August 24. Stories, updates, and photos are continuously updated through the race weekend at www.michelinalley.com and @michelinalley.