Michelin heads to Mid-Ohio to start ALMS second half
Michelin and its technical partner teams begin the second half of the American Le Mans Series season with considerable energy as they return to competition on August 4, 2012 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be broadcast live on ABC TV at 2:00 pm EDT.
Making effective use of the latest Michelin street soft tires, the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD Honda prototype team and drivers Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf, have reeled off four consecutive overall ALMS race wins at Long Beach, Monterey, Lime Rock and Mosport, Canada - to lead the ALMS Prototype (LMP1) championship.
A similar story plays out in the rugged GT category. Michelin and its technical partner teams from Corvette Racing (2), Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche and Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari have taken full advantage of the new 2012 Michelin tall front GT tires to combine for four consecutive victories. Corvette Racing and its drivers, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, lead the GT class championships heading into the second half of the season. Michelin leads the ALMS Tire Manufacturer Championship for both Prototype (LMP1) and GT.
In addition, Michelin technical partner Audi was the overall winner at the season opening Twelve Hours of Sebring.
SRT VIPERS DEBUT
The arrival of the SRT Viper factory team at Mid-Ohio marks the return to ALMS competition of a powerful competitor after a twelve year hiatus. Michelin and Viper have a long and successful history including a pair of ALMS GT titles, three GT-class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, three overall wins at the 24 Hours of Nurburging, and five FIA GT World Championships.
DEMPSEY RACING RETURNS
Adding to the Michelin excitement at Mid-Ohio is the return of Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster aboard the Dempsey Racing P2 class entry. The team is seeking to follow up its Lime Rock performance with a second ALMS podium.
LE MANS SUCCESS
Michelin’s success in the first half of the 2012 racing season is not limited to North America. Audi delivered the 15th consecutive overall win for Michelin at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The victory was the first at Le Mans for a hybrid entry.
Ferrari added to the Michelin success at Le Mans, leading a sweep of the top four spots in the GTE Pro category. Audi and Ferrari also lead the new FIA World Endurance Championship with Michelin at the midway point.
The Michelin street soft and tall tires have also helped Michelin achieve a key technical performance objective for 2012.
“One of our goals for the 2012 season was to broaden the range of tire performance,” said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader. “Both our Michelin street soft tire and our tall front tire have achieved that objective.”
STREET SOFT TIRES EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
Designed to provide additional grip on the Long Beach street circuit, Michelin was confident that its new street soft tires would perform well on this storied street circuit, but with the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing the only car to utilize them, Michelin had very limited opportunities to test and benchmark development.
Using just three sets of street soft tires to win the six-hour race at Monterey and then taking another win on the hotter, more abrasive track surface at Lime Rock opened some eyes.
Success on a very fast, demanding circuit at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, where most teams run medium or even hard compound tires, was a further demonstration of the street soft tire’s performance range. “Delivering both high grip and extended tread life is very challenging and the Michelin street soft tire has certainly achieved everything we expected and more,” said Koenigstein.
TALL TIRES SUCCESSFUL IN GT
Meanwhile, with GT victories at Le Mans and in the last four ALMS races, “the taller Michelin front tire appears to validate our expectations that it would help our teams with braking, turn in, extended tread life and a greater window for car set-ups,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager.