Road Atlanta II: Michelin race report

Consistency, speed and endurance make Michelin champions again Audi, Ferrari and Porsche all race to victories with Michelin. (Braselton, Georgia)--Michelin teams dominated today's Petit Le Mans 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta taking the overall...

Consistency, speed and endurance make Michelin champions again Audi, Ferrari and Porsche all race to victories with Michelin.

(Braselton, Georgia)--Michelin teams dominated today's Petit Le Mans 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta taking the overall victory and winning all three classes entered in the final race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

Completing a sweep of the three major ALMS-related, long-distance races (12 Hours of Sebring; 24 Hours of Le Mans and 1000 Miles of Petit Le Mans) Michelin teams captured the top six spots and eight of the top nine positions.

The race-winning #38 Champion Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert scored its fourth victory of the season. Second place went to the #10 Panoz LMP01 driven by Max Papis, Olivier Beretta and David Saelens. Finishing third were series champions Frank Biela and Marco Werner in the #1 Infineon Audi. The #11 Panoz of Gunnar Jeannette, Scott Maxwell and Benjamin Leuenberger took fourth.

Placing fifth and sixth overall were a dominant pair of ProDrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos driven by Peter Kox, Tomas Enge and Alain Menu prevailing after 1,000 miles by 1.053 seconds over teammates David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Anthony Davidson.

Taking eighth overall and the GT class win was the #24 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister and Romain Dumas. Teammates and series champions Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr followed in ninth place.

Despite open competition from five other tire makers, Michelin teams have taken overall honors at all three of the major endurance events for all five seasons of ALMS competition.

"We are very pleased that all of our Audi, Panoz, Ferrari and Porsche teams were able to make extended, consistent and very quick runs for the entire 1,000 mile race," said Amanda Head, Michelin's motorsports marketing manager.

Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans

Michelin opened the 2003 endurance racing season in March at Sebring with a sweep of the top seven spots and nine of the top ten as the #1 Infineon Audi took the victory. Michelin teams then posted a perfect ten of ten top finishers at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning all four classes with the Bentley Speed 8 taking the overall honors. Today's season ending Petit Le Mans was won by yet another car and team, the #38 Champion Audi R8.

Ferrari v. Corvette -- It's All Ferrari

The ProDrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos posted their fourth consecutive race victory as the #88 of Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Alain Menu dominated the GTS class in a race-long battle with their sister car which finished second in class.

ALMS fans are accustomed to seeing Michelin prototype teams double and even triple "stint" their Michelin tires. Today, the ProDrive Ferrari team backed up their impressive victory at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans by again double-stinting their Michelin tires against the Goodyear-shod Corvettes. The GTS class-winning #88 Ferrari took the victory, nine laps ahead of the nearest Corvette. At Le Mans, the Ferrari's final margin of victory was ten laps

GT Streak Continues

Michelin teams took the top five places in the fiercely fought GT class as the Risi Competizione Ferrari 360 Modena was sandwiched between the AJR Porsches and the Racer's Group Porsche and the J3 Porsche. It is Michelin's 19th consecutive GT class victory.

Out Front

Michelin teams led all 394 laps of the 1,000-mile event. Earlier in the season, Michelin teams led all 367 laps at Sebring and all 377 laps at Le Mans. That represents over 5,000 miles of competition at three of the world's premier events. Michelin has now fitted the overall race winners in 45 of the 47 ALMS races held in the series history.

Michelin won the ALMS Tire Manufacturer season honors in the LMP 900 Prototype; GT class and overall categories. The Michelin fitted #1 Infineon Audi and driver Marco Werner took the LMP 900 class championships. The Alex Job Racing Porsche team and drivers Maasen and Luhr claimed the GT class honors.

Michelin Pilot Sport racing tires are fitted on 17 of the 38 entries in ALMS competition.

"This is a great ending to a great season," said Head.

-michelin-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Anthony Davidson , David Saelens , Tomas Enge , David Brabham , Frank Biela , Max Papis , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Scott Maxwell , Jörg Bergmeister , Peter Kox , Gunnar Jeannette , Timo Bernhard , Marco Werner , Romain Dumas , Benjamin Leuenberger , Olivier Beretta , Alex Job , Alain Menu , JJ Lehto
Teams Risi Competizione , Alex Job Racing