Michelin looks to build on success at Watkins Glen
Fresh from great success at the Circuit de la Sarthe in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where it claimed its 18th consecutive race victory and 24th overall; Michelin and its technical partner teams head to another legendary circuit, Watkins Glen International, for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 28.
“All of the great racing circuits present truly unique challenges and that is certainly the case at Watkins Glen,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsports for Michelin North America. Michelin returned to Watkins Glen International in 2014 for the first time in 15 years for the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and found that the 11-turn 3.4-mile circuit combined with changes in cars, engines, technologies and tires provided a thorough test.
“The circuit layout, track surface, high speed corners and big elevation changes at Watkins Glen present a number of technical challenges,” said Baker. “We learned a lot last year and are working closely with our teams on chassis set ups, tire selections, cambers, pressures and strategies to be even better this time around.”
With open tire competition at Le Mans, Michelin was the choice of 40 of the 56 entries, but here in the TUDOR Championship the factory dominated GT Le Mans (GTLM) class is the only class permitting open tire competition.
Michelin has seven GTLM entries from the factory linked Corvette Racing, Porsche North America, BMW Team RLL and Risi Competizione Ferrari teams. Corvette Racing is the defending class champion here and recently won the GTLM equivalent GTE-Pro class at Le Mans.
“Last year at Watkins Glen our GTLM class factory teams finished first through eighth in GTLM and racked up 5,654 actual race miles. To put that in context, we now have well over 1.2 million actual race miles at Le Mans,” said Baker.
“All of our technical partners performed well here last year and that gives us a good foundation for our return,” said Baker. The nine Michelin 2014 GTLM technical partner cars all posted best race laps in a very narrow 0.370 second range with laps between 1 minute 45.311 seconds and 1 minute 45.681 seconds. The top seven GTLM cars finished the six hour race on the class lead lap.