Ken Payne, technical director for Michelin motorsports North America, will share the advice that he offers the Michelin technical partner teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with all of the drivers and teams in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (March 18).
Payne reminds the Michelin technical partner GT Le Mans (GTLM) class teams from BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Porsche GT Team, to simply “respect the bumps,” on the notoriously bumpy 3.74 mile, 17 turn circuit in central Florida.
“The bumps can definitely upset the handling of the car, as hitting a bump changes the tire contact patch loading and it can be enough for the driver to miss the braking point or corner entry,” said Payne.
“You can try to drive around the bumps in some places, but with a big 46 car field and 12 hours, you are going to be in traffic and hit them all at some point.
“Tires, especially the sidewall, take a lot of abuse with the bumps, loads and heat here at Sebring. Having a robust tire construction that maintains performance over full stints is highly important.”
To reinforce the importance of the bumps, Michelin, the only tire maker ever inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame and the official tire of Sebring International Raceway, will promote the track’s hashtag; #RespectTheBumps
The GTLM class is the only WeatherTech Championship class with open tire competition.
Each of the GTLM teams has selected the specific Michelin cool and medium track temperature range front and rear tires options to optimize their performance in what is always a rugged test of cars, drivers, teams and tires.
Track temperatures can change by as much as 40 or even 50 degrees during the course of the race and the track grip level also evolves throughout the race.