Porsche and BMW in shock overall 1-2 with Michelin “Wets” at Petit Le Mans
On a day when the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship decided all of its driver, team and manufacturer championships, the biggest winner of the day was Michelin.
Restricted to just the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the only TUDOR Championship class offering open tire competition, Michelin and its technical partner teams from Porsche North America, BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, and Risi Competizione Ferrari took full advantage of the latest treaded Michelin endurance racing wet weather tires to stun the more powerful and aerodynamic Prototype contenders and claim the overall victory.
Porsche North America’s Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet took the well-earned overall victory after starting last in the 36 car field. “Thanks to Michelin for all season long,” said Pilet on his fourth win of the 2015 season. “The Michelin wet tires were certainly a very big help today.”
“We knew that our Porsche-Michelin combination was pretty good in most of the conditions, which ranged from light rain to monsoon and were constantly changing,” said co-driver Nick Tandy, a member of the overall race winning Porsche 919 Hybrid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
With more than 100 additional horsepower and significantly greater downforce, the TUDOR Championship Prototype class entries typically carry a 4 to 5 second per lap advantage over the Production based GTLM entries. But, the seven Michelin fitted entries impressed throughout the race in the difficult wet conditions on the fast, rolling, 2.54 mile road circuit. Porsche’s Patrick Pilet set the fastest GTLM lap at 1min. 28.874 seconds, less than one-half of a second off the fastest Prototype time of the race.
“We are tremendously pleased by today’s results and the outstanding job done by all of our technical teams and drivers in very tricky conditions,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America. “Congratulations to Team Porsche North America for what could only be characterized as an incredible display for the terrific race fans at Road Atlanta.
“Michelin strongly believes in open competition as a way to both develop innovative technologies and demonstrate the performance differences that our tires can deliver to consumers, rather than through simple branding exercises that are inherently transient in nature,” said Baker.
“Wet grip, traction and braking are incredibly important to consumers. Based on our experience, we anticipate that what we learned here today will directly benefit our consumers within a 2- to 3-year window.”
The victory, their first overall win at Petit Le Mans, propelled Porsche, the Porsche North America team, and driver Patrick Pilet to a sweep of the 2015 TUDOR Championship GTLM manufacturer, team and driver titles.
The rains of Hurricane Joaquin reached Road Atlanta earlier this week and halted the 10 Hour Petit Le Mans race for 65 minutes just past the midway point, but there was no question that the Michelin teams had the tire advantage as Porsche, Corvette Racing, and BMW all enjoyed time ahead of the Prototypes.
When the race resumed, it was Porsche star Nick Tandy charging to the front and overtaking the race leading Prototype. He led the final 11 laps and was joined at the front by BMW Team RLL’s Jens Klingmann (co-driving with Lucas Luhr, John Edward), shortly before the race was checkered just shy of the eight hour mark due to deteriorating track conditions.
Finishing third in GTLM and sixth overall was the 2015 24 Hour of Le Mans winning Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.
BMW’s Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner, Risi Competizione Ferrari’s Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer and the 2015 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winning Corvette of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia combined to complete a Michelin sweep of the top six spots in GTLM and six of the top ten overall positions.