Michelin sweeps on the Baltimore streets
Nevermore will Michelin have a blank page for Baltimore wins on its American Le Mans Series record book as Michelin and its technical partner teams filled in the blanks with victories in all three open classes at today's Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Michelin technical partners from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda, Dyson Racing Mazda, Level 5 and Extreme Speed Honda, Corvette Racing, BMW Team RLL, and SRT Viper combined to sweep the top nine positions overall. The victory here means that Michelin now owns overall race victories at all 24 venues in ALMS history.
Taking a sixth consecutive overall race win was the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda driven by Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf. Finishing second was the Dyson Racing Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Luhr and Smith traded the lead over the final 20 minutes before Luhr regained the lead in traffic in the closing stages.
Marino Franchitti and Guy Cosmo finished third overall and first in the P2 class aboard the Level 5 Honda. They were followed by the Extreme Speed Motorsports Honda of Scott Sharp and Anthony Lazzaro.
Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia leapt from third to first in a bold move after a late restart to claim their second GT class victory of the season and lead a Corvette Racing 1-2 over teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.
The BMW Team RLL claimed third and fourth in GT. The Road America winning SRT Vipers finished fifth and sixth in class and ninth and eleventh overall.
None of the leaders changed tires on their pit stops in the race which was shortened in duration to one-hour and fourteen minutes from its original two hours after an eight-car pile-up at the start that caused a 75 minute red flag.
"The Michelin tires were fantastic all weekend," said Magnussen. Today's GT class victory was the fourth of the 2013 season for Corvette Racing and eighth in the last seventeen ALMS events.
The bumpy, narrow 2.02 mile circuit through the streets of downtown Baltimore always draws big crowds and produces its share of contact. Today's race was no exception as the five classes of cars bounced across chicanes, temporary curbing, street car tracks and a wide variety of track surfaces.
“Our Michelin engineers and technical partner teams worked hard to find the best car set-ups and tire combinations to work over the bumps and the changing track surface,” said Silvia Mammone, motorsports marketing manager, Michelin North America.
"The big crash approaching the start certainly changed everyone's race plans, but we believe that we had the right combinations to add Baltimore to the list of ALMS venues where we have enjoyed success,” said Mammone.
Michelin and it technical partner teams will face a new challenge at the next ALMS event as teams travel to the Circuit of the America’s near Austin, Texas for the first time, Sept 19-21.