Michelin teams were able to triple-, quadruple-, and -- in the case of the winning Audi R18 TDI prototype -- even quintuple-stint their Michelin tires at Le Mans, but the demands at Lime Rock are very different, according to Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader.
“One lap at Le Mans is nearly 8.5 miles long and takes three minutes and thirty seconds for the top Prototypes and four minutes for the top GT cars,” said Koenigstein. “A lap at Lime Rock is just 1.5 miles long and takes about 58 seconds, so the demands on the tires present us with a very different challenge.”
From a technical standpoint, the difference is one of priority. “Contrary to the wide-open track conditions at Le Mans, the drivers at Lime Rock will be constantly in traffic with a variety of competitors, so the big priority is to keep the tires fresh on braking and turn-in, to make passes and then to get then to get the traction needed to put the power down on acceleration,” said Koenigstein.