Michelin teams cool winners at steamy Lime Rock
The sun was shining, the track was brutally hot and so was the competition, but Michelin and its technical partner teams stayed cool to win the Northeast Grand Prix and all three open competition classes as the American Le Mans Series returned to competition at Lime Rock Park.
With track temperatures approaching 130 degrees, nearly 30 degrees higher than the previous 2013 races, the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda, co-driven by Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf took its third consecutive win of the season.
Finishing second on the demanding 1.5 mile circuit, the shortest and quickest on the ALMS schedule, was the Dyson Racing Mazda driven by Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Based in nearby Poughkeepsie, NY, the Dyson team is celebrating its 30th year in professional sports car competition.
Completing a Michelin sweep of the overall podium and taking the victory in the P2 class was the Level 5 Honda prototype drive by Ryan Briscoe and Scott Tucker.
In the GT category it was the pole winning BMW Z4 driven by Dirk Mueller and newcomer John Edwards that took the class victory over Monterey winners Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia of Corvette Racing. Finishing third was the CORE autosport Porsche driven by Patrick Long and Tom Kimber-Smith. All are Michelin technical partner teams.
“Heat is the enemy of tires and Michelin works very hard to develop the tire designs, constructions and compounds to help manage heat to maintain consistent performance and extend tire life. The winning BMW changed just two tires on its final stop with 50 minutes remaining and the Corvette changed all four tires on the next lap and both strategies worked,” said Ken Payne, technical director, motorsports, Michelin North America.
Muscle Milk Honda’s Klaus Graf:
“Today was not easy for tires. To perform at such a high level in this heat on such a demanding circuit and with so much traffic is a testimonial for Michelin and the tires they produce.”
BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Muller:
“This is just the fourth ALMS race for the new BMW Z4 and our change to Michelin tires. We were first or second in each of the practices and won the pole and the race. We are working well with Michelin to learn the new tires and continue to develop the car so I am not surprised.”
GT Battle All Square
The GT victory by the No. 56 BMW Z4 squares the battle between the 2012 ALMS GT champions from Corvette Racing and the 2011 champions from BMW Team RLL. Each team has now won a 2013 race with both of its team cars.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series is July 21 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville Ontario.