MICHELIN PREPARES TO KICK OFF 2011 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES SEASON AT SEBRING 12 HOUR
Audi, Aston Martin, Honda, Peugeot, Lead Michelin Quest for 13th Consecutive Sebring Win

SEBRING, FL(March 9, 2011) –Michelin hopes to celebrate both a tradition and the start of something very new when the 2011 American Le Mans Series season kicks off with the 59thrunning of the Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 19.

The Michelin Man
The Michelin Man

Eric Gilbert

“This year, Sebring is especially important as it is the kick-off for both the ALMS season and the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager. “The first race of the season is always exciting and new rules, new cars and new teams add a great deal of energy to what is already an important time for Michelin as we help prepare for the ALMS season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

The technical partner of choice for 26 of the 40 Open competition class entries and 34 of the 57 total entries, Michelin is seeking an unprecedented 13thconsecutive overall win in America’s premier sports car endurance race. Teamed with BMW, Audi, Porsche and Peugeot prototype entries, Michelin has claimed the overall Sebring win for the last 12 years.

“The history and the technical challenges of Sebring make it a great place to race. The track is fast and bumpy and is an ideal way to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Mammone. “To win at Sebring and Le Mans you need great handling, braking, extended tire wear and consistency.”

In addition to the competition on the track, Michelin looks to celebrate the upcoming North American launch (April 1) of the new MICHELIN®Pilot®Super Sport tire that is “born from endurance racing.” Two of the three most innovative features of the new tires were developed first in competition at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

To mark the occasion, Michelin has installed dramatic signage on the Turn 17 Bridge from the pit area to the infield and around the historic 3.7-mile circuit to celebrate the launch of the highest performing street tires Michelin has ever offered.

“We opened the 2010 American Le Mans Series season by celebrating Michelin’s induction into the Sebring Hall of Fame with a 12thconsecutive win in the Twelve Hours of Sebring,” said Mammone. “We now hope to celebrate the launch of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire by helping our technical partner teams add to that record.”

Live coverage of the Twelve Hours of Sebring can be viewed on ESPN3.com and Americanlemans.com with tape-delayed television coverage on ABC, Sunday, March 20 from 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET) and 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (PT).

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) employs more than 21,400 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.

-source: michelin