Double stints equal double wins for Michelin
At a track where grip is at a premium, an exceptional combination of grip and extended wear delivered a pair of victories for Michelin North America Inc. and its technical partner teams from Highcroft HPD Racing and Flying Lizard Porsche at the third stop of the 2010 American Le Mans Series in Monterey, Calif., May 22.
The teams won the six-hour race at the hilly, narrow Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with each team winning its second consecutive race this season in the LMP and GT classes, respectively.
Starting from the back of the field, the Highcroft Racing team and drivers Simon Pagenaud, David Brabham, and Marino Franchitti combined to move through the field, build a lead, then reclaim the lead in the final hour by double-stinting their soft compound Michelin tires to retake a 30-second lead and close out their second victory of the season. Finishing second was the CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder driven by Klaus Graf, Sascha Maassen and Memo Gidley.
(For more information on Highcroft Racing's victory, click on "Highcroft HPD team wins lates Michelin Green X Challenge race.")
Completing a Michelin sweep of the overall podium and taking the victory in the new LMP Challenge class was the Level 5 Motorsports car of Christophe Bouchut, Scott Tucker and Mark Wilkins. Finishing second in class and fourth overall was the Genoa Racing car of Tom Sutherland, Kyle Marcelli and Tom Weickardt.
Meanwhile, another late race double-stint, this one with medium compound Michelin tires, helped deliver another victory for the defending race and series champion Flying Lizard Porsche of Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister. Making a fuel only stop in the final 30 minutes, Long made his winning move on the final restart with just eight minutes remaining to secure the victory.
“We came from P8 and had a lot of discussion over the radio about was this going to be a call to go for points or go for the win,” Long said. “The BMW decided not to change tires, so we decided not to change tires.
“It was a straight fight, our Michelin tires against their tires. On that last restart going into Turn 11, it went green. I had about three quarters of a car width and I took it, and we went three wide through 11 and brought it home.”
Corvette Racing finished third in class with Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin, ahead of the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni. The top three in the GT class all finished within three seconds.
“This was an extremely competitive race and with the victories as a result of double-stinting their Michelin tires, a great way to send our Michelin technical partner teams off to Le Mans next week,” said Silvia Mammone, motorsports manager, Michelin North America.