Factory teams choose Michelin technology at Circuit of the Americas
The most innovative technology in international sports car racing will be on track as the North American based TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) head to Austin, Texas for a unique doubleheader, Saturday, September 20 at Circuit of The Americas.
One thing that the top manufacturer factory teams in both races have in common is their choice of Michelin as a key technical partner.
In the two hour 45 minute Lone Star Le Mans TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race which begins at 11:35 am Saturday, the GTLM class’ BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Dodge Viper SRT, Porsche North America and Risi Competizione Ferrari teams have all chosen Michelin in the only TUDOR Championship class permitting open tire competition.
Michelin technical partners have claimed all nine poles, race wins and 26 of a possible 27 podium positions in 2014 TUDOR Championship GTLM class competition to date. Each Michelin GTLM technical partner team has at least one pole, a fastest race lap and three podium finishes.
FIA-WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Later that evening, the six-hour FIA–WEC race featuring the exotic hybrid technology LMP1 prototypes from the 24 Hours of Le Mans will see the Audi, Toyota and Porsche hybrids all racing with Michelin. Close collaboration with each has produced innovative tires to meet the needs of their radical hybrid entries which range from Porsche’s turbocharged V4 gasoline engine paired with front electric wheel motors to Audi’s V6 turbo diesel with electric wheel motors and Toyota’s gasoline V8 with ultracapacitor and motor generators that combine to produce 1,000 horsepower.
“The new WEC LMP1 class rules for 2014 have produced the most sophisticated and innovative technology cars in motorsports today,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsports for Michelin North America. “The rules also included a significant reduction in tire size (31/71-18s replace the massive 37/71-18s rear + 36/71-18 front) that presented our Michelin engineers and tire developers with a big batch of new challenges. If you stop to think about it, this is roughly equivalent to taking away one whole Corvette C7 tire’s worth of ‘capacity’ away from the car. That’s asking a lot from the remaining rubber . . . but we’re happy to report that the LMP1s are faster than ever, due in significant part to what we’ve been able to do with the tires.”
“The LMP1 aero loads haven’t lessened and the lap times are virtually the same, so we require four smaller tires to do the same work as the much larger previous tires,” said Baker. “In addition, the hybrid nature of the LMP1 Hybrids, which includes front wheel electric drive and instant torque provides us with additional opportunities to gain deeper data and insights into tire performance at the extremes.”
In addition to the three factory LMP1 hybrid prototype teams, Michelin is also the technical partner for the traditional Rebellion Racing Toyota and Lotus LMP1 cars and the Aston Martin Racing, Corvette Racing, AF Corse Ferrari and Porsche Team Manthey factory GTE-Pro class teams. All of the GTE–AM cars entered and the LMP2 class SMP Racing have also chosen Michelin.
Michelin and its technical partner teams have taken the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in each of the last 17 consecutive years. Audi claimed the overall win in 2014 while the AF Corse Ferrari captured the GTE-Pro honors.