Michelin looks for twice the learning, twice the fun at COTA
It will be a tale of two races for Michelin and its technical partner teams when the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) stage their only dual event, the Lone Star Le Mans, September 19, at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) near Austin, Texas.
“This is the only place where both our North American- and European-based teams and engineers are together at the same track,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsports for Michelin North America.
“Circuit of The Americas is an exciting event for fans as they get to see different cars and teams and two race formats,” said Baker. “For Michelin, COTA is an opportunity to showcase our technology in two different competitions; to capture technical insights from both series and to watch our colleagues in action.”
North American teams lead off Saturday with a midday two-hour 40-minute race in the penultimate round of the TUDOR Championship.
There, Michelin technical partner teams from Corvette Racing, Porsche North America, BMW Team RLL and Houston-based Risi Competizione Ferrari will be seeking the GTLM class victory and the edge heading into the series finale at Road Atlanta on October 3.
It will be a different scene when the WEC teams compete in a six hour race on Saturday evening in the fifth round of the eight race FIA World Endurance Championship.
There, in open tire competition, Michelin is the choice of all of the super sophisticated hybrid prototypes. With over 900 horsepower available between their respective internal combustion engines and energy recovery, ultra-capacitor, and/or flywheel systems, the technical challenges are extreme.
The WEC Championship leading Audi factory team, the 2015 Le Mans race winning Porsche team, and the 2014 series champion Toyota factory teams have all chosen Michelin as their technical partner.
In addition, to the LMP1 class prototype field, the entire production based GTE-PRO and GTE-AM field, including the factory teams from Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin have all chosen Michelin.
Earlier this summer, Michelin celebrated its 24th overall victory at the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 20 turn, 3.40-mile COTA circuit outside Austin is very fast and, unlike many American circuits, is extremely smooth. “The COTA circuit is what we consider a ‘high energy’ circuit which places considerable loads on the tires,” said Baker.
“Our Michelin engineers in both the TUDOR Championship and WEC will be working very closely with their partner teams to optimize the performance to match the team strategies and unique demands of each car,” said Baker. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to learn.”
Both races will be televised live on the FOX Sports Networks.