Road Atlanta: Michelin preview

MICHELIN SEEKS 10th CONSECUTIVE PETIT LE MANS WIN BRASELTON, GA (September 30, 2008) - A powerful array of top manufacturers, teams, and drivers head for Petit Le Mans with two things in common; success at one of the crown jewels of...

MICHELIN SEEKS 10th CONSECUTIVE PETIT LE MANS WIN

BRASELTON, GA (September 30, 2008) - A powerful array of top manufacturers, teams, and drivers head for Petit Le Mans with two things in common; success at one of the crown jewels of the American Le Mans Series and the latest Michelin racing technology to help them succeed.

TRIPLE PLAY
Having taken their tenth consecutive overall race victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March and their 11th consecutive victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Michelin and its technical partner teams look to complete an endurance triple-play by claiming the victory here at the 1,000 mile/10 hours Petit Le Mans for a tenth consecutive year.

"The field for Petit Le Mans is truly impressive. The prototype field is especially deep and with manufacturers like Audi; Peugeot; Acura and Porsche all looking for the overall win, the race pace should be very fast and tires will likely play an important role in race set-ups and race strategies," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports & sponsorship manager. Michelin teams have taken the overall victories at all nine ALMS races to date in 2008 and the last 44 consecutive ALMS events.

RACE STRATEGY
During recent testing at Road Atlanta, the stunning pace of car, engine and tire development in the ALMS put a number of Michelin technical partner teams well under the existing track record. Michelin engineers expect to switch tire compounds on their respective cars at least once during the race. "Weather can change very quickly," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin motorsports technical team leader for ALMS. "Track temperature can change by as much as 30 degrees during the course of the race. The race will start in the late morning and usually gets pretty warm throughout the afternoon, but the last three hours are run after dark with a cooling track."

"It's like hitting a moving target," continued Koenigstein, noting that Michelin prototype teams like to double-stint tires where possible, which means going about two hours on the same set of tires, but leaves them vulnerable to a rival car on fresh tires during a late caution period.

TOP TEAMS CHOOSE MICHELIN
Joining the full-season Michelin partner teams from Audi; Penske Porsche; Dyson Porsche; Andretti Green Acura; Patron Highcroft Acura; Lowe's Fernandez Acura; de Ferran Motorsports Acura; Corvette Racing; Risi Ferrari; Tafel Ferrari; Flying Lizard Porsche; Farnbacher Loles Porsche for the eleventh running of the Petit Le Mans are the Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (LMP1) and the European-based Team LNT (LMP1). "We are honored that so many top manufacturers and teams have chosen Michelin as their technical partner for 2008 competition," said Mammone.

RECORDS FALLING
Audi Sport North America's Dindo Capello recently made Mosport International Raceway the fastest circuit in the American Le Mans Series with a stunning lap time of 1:04.094 (138.116 mph). The previous fastest qualifying speed was set at Road America in 2007 at 135.353 mph. The current Petit Le Mans qualifying track record is 1:08.906 (132.703 mph) set last year by Marco Werner. That record could fall this year if there are favorable conditions.

Michelin (overall) winners at PLM have included: Allan McNish & Rinaldo Capello (2007); Allan McNish & Rinaldo Capello (2006); Emanuele Pirro & Frank Biela (2005); JJ Lehto & Marco Werner (2004); JJ Lehto & Johnny Herbert (2003); Tom Kristensen & Rinaldo Capello (2002); Frank Biela & Emanuele Pirro (2001); Allan McNish & Rinaldo Capello (2000); David Brabham, Eric Bernard & Andy Wallace (1999).

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Marco Werner , Dindo Capello , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto
Teams Corvette Racing , Team LNT