Road America: Michelin preview

TEAMS LEAN ON MICHELIN AT ROAD AMERICA Teams Need Michelin Cornering Power, Longevity to Overcome Straightaways Rule Disadvantage ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 18, 2010) - Speed will be the name of the game for Michelin and its...

TEAMS LEAN ON MICHELIN AT ROAD AMERICA
Teams Need Michelin Cornering Power, Longevity to Overcome Straightaways Rule Disadvantage

ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 18, 2010) - Speed will be the name of the game for Michelin and its technical partner teams as the final three races of the 2010 American Le Mans Series season will be run at the three fastest tracks the series visits, Road America, Mosport and Road Atlanta.

With top speeds approaching 200 miles per hour and an average lap speed topping 136 miles per hour, the 4.048-mile Road America circuit, site of the August 22 American Le Mans Series powered by eStar is the longest track of the ALMS season.

Technical rules for the 2010 ALMS combined Prototype classes limit the straightaway performance of some of the Michelin technical partner teams, particularly the defending series champions Highcroft HPD Racing. The Highcroft car was nearly 30 miles per hour slower than some Prototype competitors at the next longest circuit at Salt Lake City, but persevered to win the race.

Michelin technical partner teams will be looking to Michelin to provide the right tires to overcome that straight-line speed. "Overcoming such an enormous disadvantage in straight-line speed means that the teams need every fraction of a second that we can provide in braking, cornering power, and acceleration," said Michelin ALMS technical team leader Karl Koenigstein.

"We can also help our Michelin technical partner teams by providing consistency lap after lap and the extended wear or longevity to open up the possibility for double-stinting tires," said Koenigstein. "The elevation changes at Road America exaggerate the transitions and balance of the car, so it is a big challenge to find the right combination."

Due to the predominance of right-hand turns at Road America, Michelin race engineers sometime suggest a 'split' tire selection using different combinations of harder and softer compound MICHELIN® tires on different wheel positions to maximize performance.

Actually, the Michelin response may be found in the number three, as Michelin tire engineers and technical partner teams may choose set ups using three different Michelin options to provide the cornering, power and longevity they need.

BY THE NUMBERS

There have been three different overall race winners in the last three ALMS races:

. Highcroft HPD's Simon Pagenaud and David Brabham took the win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; . Muscle Milk Team CytoSport and Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf scored its first overall win at Lime Rock Park, and . Dyson Racing scored the first win for Mazda at Mid-Ohio. . It was also the first overall race win for Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.

There have also been three different pole winners in the past three races:

. Guy Smith of Dyson Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; . David Brabham of Highcroft HPD at Lime Rock Park and . Jonny Cocker and Drayson Racing at Mid-Ohio.

Actually, there have been five different pole winners in the first six races, including Marc Gene and Team Peugeot Total at Sebring and Adrian Fernandez and Aston Martin at Long Beach. (Highcroft HDP is the only double-pole winner.)

THREE ON THE GT

Meanwhile on the GT side of the grid, the number three takes in a different ring:

. The defending ALMS GT champion Flying Lizard Porsche and archrival Risi Competizione Ferrari team have each scored three wins in the first six races. . The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team drivers Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner sit a close third with their team tied for first with Risi Competizione Ferrari for the Team Championship. . Looking for its first win of the season is the Corvette Racing team that has three podium finishes.

"The GT fight is very close between the Flying Lizard Porsches and Risi Competizione Ferraris, but the nature of the track could very well favor the Corvettes and BMWs at Road America," said Koenigstein.

-source: michelin

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Guy Smith , Klaus Graf , Marc Gene , Bill Auberlen , Greg Pickett , Tommy Milner , Simon Pagenaud , Chris Dyson , Jonny Cocker
Teams Corvette Racing , Risi Competizione , HART