Road America: Michelin Motorsports preview

MICHELIN TECHNICAL PARTNER TEAMS READY TO "FLY LOW" AT ROAD AMERICA GRIP Is Name of The Game at Longest ALMS Track ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 11, 2009) - The spirit of sports car racing in America is alive and well at the...

MICHELIN TECHNICAL PARTNER TEAMS READY TO "FLY LOW" AT ROAD AMERICA
GRIP Is Name of The Game at Longest ALMS Track

ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 11, 2009) - The spirit of sports car racing in America is alive and well at the picturesque 4.048 mile Road America circuit, the longest of the American Le Mans Series season.

Road America is one of the fastest tracks in the ALMS series with top speeds approaching 200 miles per hour and an average lap speed topping 136 miles per hour.

Speeds will be featured, but grip, as in mechanical grip, will be the name of the game at the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series Race, August 15-16.

"The technical plan to go fast is very simple in theory and very complex in execution," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin Motorsports manager. "The teams will keep trimming downforce off the cars to reduce drag and optimize their speed on the long straightaways. The key is to have enough downforce and mechanical grip to handle the high- and medium-speed corners."

In fact, the next three ALMS races will be run at the three fastest tracks the series visits, Road America, Mosport and Road Atlanta. For Michelin, the challenge at each is to provide maximum levels of high speed cornering grip in tires that still provide consistency and exceptionally long wear.

Of particular interest will be the performance of the new Michelin wide tires fitted on the radical new Acura LMP1 class prototypes, the first prototypes to willingly sacrifice some aerodynamic efficiency to increase mechanical grip by running maximum-sized tires on both the front and rear of the car.

"We would expect that aerodynamically the Acuras may give up a little bit of straightline speed, so the question will be how much time they can gain back in the turns with their extra cornering power," said Mammone.

Adding to the challenge, the elevation changes at Road America exaggerate the transitions and balance of the car, making a well balanced set-up essential to turning consistent lap times and extending tires into a second stint.

Michelin race tire engineers, working closely with each of the Michelin technical partner teams from Acura, Mazda, Corvette, Porsche and Ferrari will monitor performance during practice and assist the teams in choosing the combinations of MICHELIN

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Teams HART