Michelin teams up with Aston Martin to make history at Long Beach
The dominant victory was the first overall win in ALMS competition for Aston Martin and the third for the Muscle Milk team in the past seven ALMS races. The team switched from Porsche to Aston Martin during the off-season.
Aston Martin becomes the tenth different manufacturer to claim an overall race victory in ALMS competition with Michelin, joining Audi, Porsche, BMW, Acura, Peugeot, HPD, Panoz, Zytek, Lola/AER, and Lola/Judd.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Luhr wasted little time in overtaking the pole sitting Dyson Racing Mazda to lead the first lap and build a comfortable lead before handing off to Graf midway through the two-hour race.
“We had some issues that cost us time in the Friday practice, but the car was good and Aston Martin and Michelin and the team all did a perfect job,” said Luhr.
“Winning today was proof that we made the right decisions and chose the right partners with Lola, Aston Martin and Michelin over the winter,” said Graf. The victory extends the Michelin record at Long Beach to five consecutive years.
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Finishing in third place overall and taking its first victory in just its second ALMS race was the CORE Autosport LMP Challenge prototype driven by Gunnar Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez.
“Ricardo was able to build up a little bit of a lead in the first half of the race and since it was a bit hotter than yesterday we decided to change tires and that helped us regain the lead. Michelin knows how to handle the heat,” said Jeannette. “We had a perfect weekend, winning the pole, the race and setting the fastest lap,” said Jeannette, who was also the 2010 Long Beach LMPC class winner.
Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin came home second in the “street fight” of a GT class battles while Risi Competizione Ferrari’s Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander claimed third after starting 28th following a qualifying mishap. Rival BMW Team RLL’s Joey Hand and Dirk Werner took the victory in a race that saw five different cars lead at various stages of the two-hour race on the 1.968-mile downtown street circuit.
Level Five Heads for Le Mans
Taking the victory in the LMP2 class, Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut took the big picture view and did just enough to claim the win and immediately started packing up the car for shipment to France for next Sunday’s official “test day” for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We are pleased to help deliver Aston Martin’s first overall race win in the ALMS,” said Silvia Mammone, manager motorsports, Michelin North America. “Long Beach is a great venue for us to showcase Michelin technology in open competition before a very large and enthusiastic audience. We congratulate Greg Pickett and the Muscle Milk team on their impressive victory.”