Michelin helps SRT Viper back to victory lane
The conditions were cool, cloudy, and constantly changing but an early change to Michelin dry tires today helped the SRT Viper squad return to victory lane in the GT class for the first time since 2000.
The victory by the Viper brand was the first since the final round of the 2000 American Le Mans Series championship on the streets of Adelaide, Australia.
SRT Viper returned to the American Le Mans Series 12 months ago and have shown extreme pace – taking pole position at the past two race weekends. Today’s victory by German Dominic Farnbacher and Belgian Marc Goosens was SRT’s first since returning to international competition.
“The start was tricky, you couldn’t see anything from all of the rain. But I just got bumped from the front, and the rear, and the side. I tried to stay away from everyone, but it was no use,” Farnbacher said.
“The car was pretty much fantastic in the rain. It has to be the best car I’ve ever driven in the rain. We were one of the few teams who changed to the slicks on the first yellow. The Michelin’s gave me a lot of confidence and even in the dry they did so well.
“We gambled and put on the slicks, but it was the right decision and we could just drive past everyone.”
The Belgian veteran took the lead with 33 minutes remaining. He held the competition at bay while conserving fuel to avoid a late pit stop. His efforts were rewarded when a caution period developed with nine minutes remaining permitting Farnbacher to reach the finish on fumes.
Finishing second and third were the Corvette Racing C6 Rs of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia followed by teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. Matching a team best ever fourth place finish was the Paul Miller Racing Porsche driven by Bryce Miller and Marco Holzer, followed by the CORE autosport Porsche of Tom Kimber- Smith and Patrick Long.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing scores fifth consecutive ALMS victory
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda and Michelin continued to have the winning combination as they teamed to claim a fifth consecutive 2013 American Le Mans Series victory.
“It was a little tricky at the beginning as no one had run in the rain all week,” said Muscle Milk driver Lucas Luhr, who started the race from the pole in the two hour 45 minute event on the hilly 4.048 mile circuit.
“The conditions were changing on the circuit and some parts of the track were slippery and very greasy,” said Luhr. We decided to switch to the Michelin slicks as the track was drying and the car was fast, especially in the drying conditions and as the track got better it was more and more in our favor.”
Co-driver Klaus Graf agreed. “When I got in for the second half of the race, the conditions were still changing and the track was never as clean as in practice so I was quite happy with the pace of the car. The team made the right call to keep the Michelin slicks on the car and let me double-stint them to the finish,” said Graf
“We knew from practice that we could double-stint the Michelin tires with no problem,” said Graf. “We have created a good package with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, Michelin and Honda and we all keep working to be even better.”
“The first wet race of the season is always an interesting challenge,” said Ken Payne, motorsports technical director, Michelin North America. “Up until this morning, most of our teams were finalizing the unique combinations of hard, medium and soft dry tire options that Road America typically demands.
“The rain before the start put the focus on the wet tires for the early stages. At that point, many of our GT technical partner teams were able to pass the faster PC class cars.
“The teams that went to slicks early in the race relied on our Michelin slick tires to operate in a wide range of conditions for the balance of the race.” said Payne. “And, on the opposite strategy, teams like Level 5 (P2 class winners Simon Pagenaud and Scott Tucker) were able to save a pit stop by running the entire first hour on the wet tires even though the track was drying and that helped them win their race, too.”
“The Michelin motorsports team is pleased to congratulate our technical partners at SRT Motorsports on the first ALMS victory for the new SRT Viper GTS-R,” said Silvia Mammone, motorsports marketing manager, Michelin North America. “The SRT team’s relentless progression up the GT grid and now to victory is a tribute to their passion and commitment.”