Michelin teams shine in Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix
The Canadian sun, Porsche, BMW and Corvette cars and Michelin tires were the all shining brightly at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix race.
The only Canadian round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship saw the GTLM class dominated by the Porsche North America factory team’s Porsche 911 RSR, co-driven by 2015 Le Mans 24 Hour race overall winner Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.
“Racing on a very fast, sunny, hot, high energy track like CTMP requires good mechanical grip—and exceptional endurance from the tire’s internal architecture—so we are pleased that our technical partners were able to perform at a record pace,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America.
Michelin and its technical partner teams from Porsche North America, BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing and Risi Competizione Ferrari swept the top seven places in the factory filled class.
Tandy captured the class pole with a track record lap and set a torrid pace on the high-speed, high-energy 2.459-mile circuit. He and Pilet would surrender the lead only briefly on the final pit stop exchanges. The victory was the first for the Porsche North America team since the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, 2014, followed by a span of 14 winless races.
“We had a perfect week,” said Tandy “The car and the Michelin tires were really strong at the start so we were able to pull a gap and stay there. Overall, we were the best car all week and it showed.”
BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner stalked the lead Porsche throughout much of the first two and one half hours of the two-hour, 40-minute race, but fell to fourth as their teammate John Edwards paired with Lucas Luhr and Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia, teamed with Jan Magnussen, swept by in the final two laps.
Having set up for a hot slippery track, Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia set fastest race lap as he and co-driver Magnussen rallied through the field as the track temperatures rose to over 110 degrees to claim the final podium spot. That extended their lead in the GTLM class driver championship standings after the sixth of ten rounds. Their teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin claimed fifth ahead of Risi Competizione Ferrari’s Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer.
All eight GTLM entries smashed the previous class race lap record within the first 10 minutes of the race. Garcia’s new race record lap of 1:15.340 stands in sharp contrast to the previous record 1:16.577 set in 2014 by Viper’s Jonathan Bomarito.