Muscle Milk Honda Michelin wins in Canada
The Victory Podium has been relocated at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, but Klaus Graf, co-driver Lucas Luhr and the Muscle Milk Pickett Honda/Michelin team still know how to find it as the team claimed its fourth consecutive victory here in dominant fashion.
Double-stinting their new, ultra-wide Michelin front tires and lapping nearly two seconds per lap quicker than in 2012, Graf built a commanding lead before handing off to Luhr for fresh tires and closing the final hour of the two hour 45 minute race, the fifth stop of the 2013 American Le Mans Series season.
“The switch to the wider Michelin front tires was a big advantage,” said Graf. “The tires were very consistent start- to- finish, which is why we could double stint. The circuit (2.459 miles) is so demanding that front tires tend to lose grip toward the end of the stint, but that was not the case this weekend, the Michelin wide front tire never give up.”
Corvette and Viper Lead the Way in GT:
It was a celebration of American iron here in Canada in the hotly contested GT class, as the Corvette Racing and SRT Team Viper factory pairs stole the show. The two teams combined to claim the top four places ahead of their BMW, Porsche and Ferrari rivals.
Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, the defending ALMS Series GT champions, became the first to claim a second GT class win in 2013, as Milner withstood an all-out closing charge from SRT Viper’s Dominik Farnbacher. The final margin of victory for the Corvette was 0.267 seconds after 123 laps of the 2.459 mile circuit.
“The BMWs had the edge in the corners and the Vipers were strong on the straights, but we seemed to have the best combination of both and Tommy drove brilliantly under massive pressure to get the job done,” said Gavin.
The race showed the speed of the SRT Vipers, as the team, now in its first full season of ALMS competition, claimed the GT class pole and led most of the first half of the race. Farnbacher and co-driver Marc Goossens were joined on the podium by pole winning teammates Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer.
Finishing fourth after a big crash in Saturday’s qualifying was the Corvette sister car of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. The Danish/Spanish duo charged from the back of the grid after an overnight rebuild from the Corvette Racing crew.
Michelin technical partner teams from Corvette, SRT Viper and BMW claimed the top six spots in the ten car GT class. Ironically, all of the Michelin technical partner GT teams use the Michelin “tall” front tire package.
Level 5 Edges Extreme Speed in P2:
Taking a come-from-behind the victory in the P2 class and finishing second overall was the Level 5 Racing Honda prototype of Marino Franchitti and Scott Tucker. Finishing third overall and second in P2 was the ESM Honda of Scott Sharp and Guy Cosmo.
“Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is one of the fastest and most difficult tracks of the entire season,” said Silvia Mammone, motorsports marketing manager, Michelin North America. “We are pleased that our technical partner teams were able to meet the challenges of the circuit and deliver a great race for all of the fans.”