Michelin stands tall in victories at Long Beach

April 16, 2012

Michelin rolled out the latest tires in its technical arsenal and walked off with the big wins here at the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on Saturday.

The latest generation of the ultra-successful Michelin “street soft” race tires helped the Muscle Milk HPD Honda prototype of Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf overcome an extra pit stop and power to a 43.66 second victory over the Dyson Racing Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the second round of the 2012 ALMS championship. Michelin technical partner teams took five of the top six overall positions in the two-hour race on the 1.968 mile downtown Long Beach street circuit

Lucas Luhr Comments:
“I have been racing with Michelin tires for several years and they have very high standards,” said winning co-driver Lucas Luhr. “We did a test and we didn’t run long, but we were absolutely sure that they would do the job. As we saw today, the Michelin tires were perfect. They were just great. We looked at the tires that came off the car after my stint and they were still perfect.  “The Michelin “street softs” were a key to our success. The track grip level was low, but the “street softs” helped us dramatically with braking and handling. We give a big ‘thanks’ to Michelin for providing us with that new tire.”

Standing Tall in GT:
Michelin’s new 2012 “tall” (1.2 inches taller) front tire developed for its GT technical partner teams also starred in one of the most competitive classes worldwide.
Michelin technical partner teams from Corvette Racing, Extreme Speed Ferrari, and Aston Martin combined to claim four of the top-five GT positions with the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 driven by Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin taking the class win. The victory was the first in ALMS competition for Milner, a co-driver on the 2011 Le Mans winning Corvette.

Oliver Gavin Comments:
“I watched Tommy drive to the front in the first half of the race and saw that our Michelin tires were very fast and he made a great run. When we came out of the pit stop, I had to chase down the BMW. Our car was very good. I was pushing hard, but not qualifying style, and I reeled him in quite quickly. Once I was past, we pulled out a margin and the tires stayed underneath me for the whole stint. Thank you, Michelin.”

Overcoming a ninth place GT class starting position to move to the lead in the first 35 minutes, the Extreme Speed Ferrari of Johannes van Overbeek and Scott Sharp finished third, followed by the No. 3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia and the No. 007 Aston Martin of Adrian Fernandez and Darren Turner.

LMP Challenge Rocks:
Taking the LMP Challenge class victory and the final spot on the overall race podium was the No. 06 Core autosport prototype driven by Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel. Finishing second in class and fourth overall was the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing No. 5 driven by Memo Gidley and Mike Guasch. Completing the LMP-Challenge podium and taking fifth overall was the No. 05 Core autosport entry of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.  

All LMP-Challenge class entries compete using a Michelin non-confidential specification tire.

Silvia Mammone (manager motorsports, Michelin North America) Comments:
“Today’s success in America’s premier street race is a great compliment to our Michelin technical partner teams and to our tire developers, chemists, and race tire engineers. This was a very difficult scenario. Due to the rain yesterday the ALMS teams had no dry track time for practice. Many of the teams, including Muscle Milk HPD, were running new cars that made their data from previous years irrelevant. We are pleased that we were able to provide our technical partners with the right tires to help them to be successful and we thank them for their confidence and collaboration with Michelin and congratulate them all on a great race.”