MICHELIN READY TO STRETCH LEGS AND STINTS AT ROAD AMERICA
ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 8, 2008) - The difference between a standard 2-hour 45-minute American Le Mans Series Race and the four-hour Generac 500 this weekend at Wisconsin's classic 4.048-mile Road America may escape casual fans, but the difference for Michelin and the ALMS teams is much more than simply 75-minutes and additional laps.
Making at least one extra pit stop opens up a much bigger array of tactical options, many involving tires. Michelin and its technical partner teams will be looking to explore those options at the seventh stop of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season.
"Our Michelin technical partner prototype teams typically make two pit stops in a standard (2-hour 45-minute) race," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports & sponsorship manager. "Teams have to change drivers on one of those stops and they usually change tires on the same stop. Here, at Road America with four-hours to work with, teams may consider double-stinting right from the start then doing their driver change and tire change at mid- race and even double-stinting again."
The key to opening up the tactical options revolves around the ability to double-stint, or use the same set of MICHELIN® tires for two-fuel loads or approximately two hours of race time. ALMS teams are not permitted to change tires and fuel at the same time, so taking fuel but not tires typically saves 14-16 seconds on a pit stop.
"The key to making a double-stint work is for the team to be able to maintain the same lap times on the extended stint," said Mammone.
At the most recent ALMS event at Mid-Ohio, both the overall race winning Audi R10 TDi of Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner and the GT2 class winning Tafel Racing Ferrari of Dominik Farnbacher and Dirk Muller were able to double- stint their MICHELIN tires to victory.
"The longer the race, the better we like it," said Mammone. "Extended wear is a Michelin feature and we take the technology that we develop in competition to help provide that feature to consumers as well as our technical partners."
Having secured their 11th consecutive victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Michelin technical partner teams are poised to extend a perfect record in 2008 ALMS competition having won all four ALMS classes in all six events to date.