Michelin delivers victory for Audi at Sebring
The 2013 American Le Mans Series season opened as the past 14 ALMS seasons have started, with an exciting Michelin victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Michelin and its technical partner teams used the broad performance range and consistency of Michelin tires and the support of their embedded Michelin tire engineers to handle the changing track conditions on the notoriously bumpy 3.74 mile airport circuit.
Michelin teams claimed the overall race victory, all three open class victories, and the top seven positions overall as Michelin extended its Sebring victory string to 15 consecutive years.
There were perfect weather conditions, close competition, new track records, and a great crowd for the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the final appearance for the exotic Audi P1 prototypes. Audi didn’t disappoint as the defending Le Mans 24 Hour race champions scored their 11th Sebring victory in the past 14 years.
Racing an exotic Audi R18 e-tron Quattro hybrid combining a turbodiesel engine with electric wheel motors energized by a flywheel storage unit, the Audi No. 1 driven by Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Oliver Jarvis completed 364 laps to claim a 7.67 second victory over Audi teammates Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Lucas di Grassi.
Corvette Stages Dramatic Comeback:
Corvette Racing’s 2012 ALMS GT champions Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner stormed back to claim the GT class victory after a penalty for avoidable contact to co-driver Richard Westbrook dropped them from the GT class lead to seventh place, nearly 90 seconds behind with less than a quarter of the race remaining.
Gavin and Milner relentlessly narrowed the gap without benefit of a caution period and Milner finally took the lead from the Risi Competizione Ferrari with less than 10 minutes remaining.
“We had a great race. Winning all three classes at Sebring is a perfect way to start the 2013 season,” said Ken Payne, technical director, motorsports, Michelin North America. “We are pleased that the P1 Audi, Rebellion Toyota and Muscle Milk Pickett Honda teams all ran very well.
In the P2 class, Michelin tires were able to deliver consistent performance that allowed the Level 5 teams to claim a 1-2 class finish. Both Level 5 and the Extreme Speed Motorsports team were able to double and even triple-stint their Michelin tires.
The GT class competition saw Michelin technical partner teams from Aston Martin, BMW Team RLL, SRT Viper, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Corvette Racing all lead the race at one time or another and the final Michelin technical partner Paul Miller Racing Porsche ran second at times.
The next stop on the 2013 American Le Mans Series is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 20th in Long Beach, California.