Mosport: Michelin preview

When the American Le Mans Series field takes to the track for the Mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport, nearly half of the field will be competing in just one of the four classes, GT. Michelin-fitted teams have won the GT class in 35 of the 42...

When the American Le Mans Series field takes to the track for the Mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport, nearly half of the field will be competing in just one of the four classes, GT.

Michelin-fitted teams have won the GT class in 35 of the 42 races in ALMS history and taken top class honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the past two years.

Michelin-fitted Porsches have been the hot combination in GT competition for the last two and one-half seasons, winning the GT class in the last 14 consecutive ALMS races. But a new challenger is emerging, the Michelin-equipped Ferarri 360 Modena of Risi Competizione.

"The battle in GT is really heating up," said Amanda Head, Michelin motorsports marketing manager. "The fans enjoy seeing the Porsches and Ferraris fight it out. Of course, we're very interested in the battle within the battle as the Michelin-fitted Porsches and Ferrari compete head-to-head with the other Porsches and Ferraris that are fitted with competitive tires."

Why Tires Matter - Tires matter because they connect race cars to the track. The best tires are those that provide a high level of grip and offer the driver a full sense of security as they race at 180 miles per hour. The tires must also be durable so they can last at least one fuel stint without a drop-off in performance. In fact, Michelin has been able to accomplish all of that and have the durability to race two fuel stops without changing tires. Referred to as "double stinting", this allows teams to not change tires on every pit stop, which can save as much as 20 seconds per pit stop. At most ALMS tracks, that can mean nearly a quarter of a lap in track position, a significant advantage.

Last Year at Mosport - Michelin continued its winning streak at Mosport by sweeping the podium as Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen piloted the Infineon Joest Audi R8 to victory over Champion Audi pilots Stefan Johansson and Johnny Herbert. JJ Lehto and Max Angelelli rounded out the podium aboard their Cadillac Northstar LMP02. In addition, Michelin-shod Porsche entries swept the podium in the GT class with Kevin Buckler and Brian Cunningham taking the victory for the Racers' Group. Orbit Racing drivers, Leo Hindery and Peter Baron, finished second while the Alex Job Racing team of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen finished third.

Michelin Teams Head North of the Border - A total of 14 cars will ride on Michelin tires at Mosport International Raceway in 2003. Trois-Rivieres victors, Joest Racing, headline a group of four Michelin-shod LMP900 prototype entries including, Champion Racing and a pair from JML Team Panoz. Veloqx ProDrive will field a pair of Ferrari 550 Maranellos in the competitive GTS category. And in the GT class, Alex Job Racing, which has won every ALMS race this year and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, leads an assortment of Porsche entries from Orbit Racing, the Racers' Group and J-3 Racing. Risi Competizione rounds out the GT class with their Ferrari 360 Modena.

Michelin Sits Atop ALMS Tire Championship - Michelin seeks its fifth consecutive ALMS Tire Championship for the top LMP900 category and its fourth consecutive ALMS Tire Championship for the GT category in 2003. Unlike other forms of motorsports which run a single "spec tire", the ALMS enjoys a fierce battle among tire companies including Michelin, Goodyear, Dunlop, Yokohama, Pirelli and Avon. Michelin currently leads the ALMS Tire Championship with 86 points over Dunlop (22 points) and Goodyear (20 points) in the LMP900 category. Michelin has 86 points in the GT category, resulting from four wins from the Alex Job Porsche team. Their closest pursuers are Yokohama (40), Pirelli (22) and Dunlop (21).

Michelin Laps Field - Despite competition from five other tire companies, Michelin teams enter this weekend's Mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport having led 7,227 of the 7,506 laps (96 percent) in ALMS competition since the series began in 1999. Michelin also has won 40 of 42 races in ALMS history.

Back-to-Back Weekends of ALMS Action - Michelin and its partner teams are prepared for two consecutive weekends of ALMS racing. Back-to-back weekends of racing do not allow any time to regroup before the cars take the track at Road America next weekend. Some teams will start practice with the same set-up they had at Mosport and make changes during the first few sessions.

Mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport Live on NBC - The mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport will be aired live at 2:00 p.m. ET, August 17, on NBC.

-michelin-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Kevin Buckler , Leo Hindery , Peter Baron , Max Angelelli , Brian Cunningham , Alex Job , JJ Lehto
Teams Risi Competizione , Alex Job Racing