July 08, 2014
Confidence and commitment are keys to Canada and Michelin championship runs
There is no halftime show scheduled at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), but the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, July 13, is unmistakably the mid-way point of the inaugural 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for Michelin and its technical partner teams.
One of the fastest and most challenging circuits in motorsports, the classic 2.459-mile circuit features blind crests, high speed corners, heavy braking and a relentless flow that presents risks and rewards several times each lap.
“In effect, CTMP is all about confidence and commitment,” said Ken Payne, motorsports technical director for Michelin North America. “Places like this are why Michelin pushes tire development so hard and works so closely with our Michelin technical partner teams. We know that the combinations of lateral solicitation and vertical load can create one of the most difficult situations possible for a tire. We want to provide the technology to meet the demands of the most difficult circuits and offer our drivers the confidence and consistency they need to stay aggressive lap after lap. That approach wins races and wins championships,” said Payne.
As the two-hour 45-minute race here July 13 (FoxSports1 - 2:00-5:00 pm EDT) plays out, each tick of the clock also brings the second half of the season and the 2014 IMSA championships into closer focus.
The 2014 IMSA Manufacturer, Team and Driver championship battles are all in full roar. Through the first five TUDOR Championship races for the high powered GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the factory Porsche North America (Daytona, Sebring) and Corvette Racing (Long Beach, Monterey, Watkins Glen) Michelin technical partner teams have dominated with Porsche taking the first two and Corvette the following three wins. Michelin technical partners Corvette Racing, BMW Team RLL and Dodge Viper currently lead the team championships.
BMW Team RLL has used a series of podium finishes to stay in close contention and Dodge Viper, which turned in a very strong second half to the 2013 season, seems poised to do that again after an impressive 2-3 finish at Watkins Glen. Ferrari claimed the GTE Pro class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Risi Competizione Ferrari set the fastest GTLM race lap at Watkins Glen. All are Michelin technical partner teams.
At the most recent round, Watkins Glen, a mere 0.370 seconds separated the fastest lap of the race from the ninth fastest GTLM car. “All of our teams ran best laps within a margin of 0.28 percent at Watkins Glen,” said Payne. “It is amazing competition.”
“With the 24 Hours of Le Mans and three of the four longer races in the TUDOR Championships behind us, Michelin will look to help our teams continue to fight for the championships and simultaneously start to work on tire developments for the 2015 season,” said Payne. “The Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 24-25, 2015) comes up pretty fast. One thing that we all learn in motorsports is that whether it is lap times, race length or race calendar, the clock never stops ticking.”