Michelin readies for ALMS Grand Finale
Intense competition, championship smiles, teary good byes and friendly helloes will make up the scene as Michelin and its technical partner teams head to Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans race, October 19.
The final race of the 2013 American Le Mans Series season is also the final race for the series as it unites with GRAND-AM in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSC). For Michelin, with all three of the open class 2013 ALMS tire championships secured and 27 of 27 possible race/class wins in 2013, the year-end awards are assured.
Michelin and its technical partner teams enter Petit Le Mans having claimed 138 race victories and 390 class wins in the 146 ALMS events since the ALMS debuted in March 1999. The other nine tire makers to compete in the series have a combined 8 race wins and 120 class wins.
For Michelin, the GT and P2 driver championships are intramural affairs. The GT driver championship leaders Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia of 2013 GT manufacturer and team champion Corvette Racing, and the hunter, BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Mueller are Michelin technical partner teams.
In the P2 category, both the Honda prototypes of driver championship leader Scott Tucker of Level 5 Motorsports and Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Scott Sharp are Michelin equipped. Michelin technical partner Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda has clinched the ALMS P1 manufacturer, team and driver championships.
There are many demands throughout the 10 Hours/1,000 miles in the red clay hills of north Georgia. The 2.54-mile natural terrain circuit means that the slightest issue can spell disaster for championship hopes as teams encounter endless traffic working their way through the multi-class 36-car field.
Keeping the cars and tire choices well matched to the changing track conditions requires continuous monitoring and evaluation by Michelin engineers and teams. Preliminary forecasts indicate a cool, partly cloudy day with highs approaching 70 degrees, but dropping into the low 50s by race end at approximately 9:30 pm.
“Whether it’s for racing or for our consumers, Michelin likes to design and develop tires with an increasingly broader bandwidth of performance attributes,” said Chris Baker, motorsports director for Michelin North America. “This is what we call Michelin Total Performance.”
“We are pleased to have been successful in all of the ALMS races this season and to have the last open championships down to Michelin technical partners” said Baker. “We hope to continue the success at Petit Le Mans and provide each of our technical partners with the right tire to enable optimum performance.”
“We have enjoyed competing in the ALMS and want to recognize the fans, the series organizers, ALMS staff and officials,” said Baker.