Racing

Road Atlanta Appears The Same, Michelin Sees Something Different

Posted on October 6, 2017

The 2.54-mile circuit at Road Atlanta may appear unchanged to the thousands of fans at this weekend’s big 20th Petit Le Mans race, but Michelin sees a notable difference.

“Each track has its own characteristics and the track surface and grip level at Road Atlanta have certainly changed since last year,” said Ken Payne, technical director of motorsport, Michelin North America, “While not a complete repaving, the track surface has improved by grinding down some of the bigger bumps that have developed through the years and the installation of new patches and sealer on many of the key corners.”

Quicker laps
“On a macro level the repaved areas are very smooth, but on a micro level there are lots of microscopic edges that provide extra grip,” said Payne, “Testing and simulations indicate that the track is now 1.0 to 1.5 seconds per lap quicker than last year.”

The fastest GTLM race lap in 2016 was 1 minute 18.7 seconds. An improvement of 1.5 seconds would represent nearly a two percent change, which is quite significant in GTLM terms.

In addition to possible shifts in tire compound choices and strategies, that new grip level can change aerodynamic downforce levels and suspension settings.

Collaborations
Michelin is working with its powerful factory linked technical partner teams from BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche to analyze the potential impacts of the changes in the track surface.

“We've advised our teams to be careful with camber and tire pressures especially with cold tires at the start of each stint,” said Payne, “It is very easy to damage a tire early in the stint before it has built proper pressures and temperatures and damage may not appear until later in the stint.”

“There is an outside chance of rain on Saturday and that would put everyone into an unknown in terms of grip levels in those repaved or sealed sections,” said Payne.

Title time
While Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia are poised to claim the WeatherTech GTLM Drivers Championship and with it the Team Championship for the No. 3 Corvette Racing team, the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship is still wide open.

Chevrolet (Corvette) leads Ford by just four points with BMW just another three points adrift. Corvette Racing has four WeatherTech Championship wins in 2017 while Ford has two wins. BMW has three wins and Porsche has one win, while Ferrari, the 2016 GTLM class winner here at Petit Le Mans, has four podiums and a pole position in just six starts.

Related Topics: Michelin, Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
TJ Anderson was the inspiration for TJ’s Team: More Than a Cape.
News Ricky Benton Enterprises and the No. 92 Car Get Ready to Roll

Peters, RBR returning to NCWTS action in NC Education Lottery 200 Truck to carry decal in support of More Than a Cape for pediatric cancer research

News Falken Celebrates Two Top-15 Finishes at the Nürburgring 24-Hours

The ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring last weekend once again proved to be the toughest of endurance challenges. The Falken team overcame extreme weather conditions to complete the iconic race, with both cars finishing within the top 15 from a starting grid of 146 entrants.

News Porsche, BMW, Corvette Help Michelin Celebrate IMSA's Return to Mid-Ohio

Michelin celebrated the return of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, with an exciting race which saw a great blend of speed, strategy and racecraft. The 11-turn, 2.258-mile circuit provided the first elevation changes and standard length race of the season of two hours, 40 minutes.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!