MICHELIN AIMS TO CLAIM 10th CONSECUTIVE SEBRING WIN SEBRING, FLA. (March 5, 2008) - The off-season, which seems to shrink with each passing year, is finally over and the new cars; teams; drivers and sponsors are ready for the first and...
MICHELIN AIMS TO CLAIM 10th CONSECUTIVE SEBRING WIN
SEBRING, FLA. (March 5, 2008) - The off-season, which seems to shrink with each passing year, is finally over and the new cars; teams; drivers and sponsors are ready for the first and biggest event of the 2008 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season, the fabled 12 Hours of Sebring on March 15th. Michelin and its partner teams stand ready for the new season and for Sebring's grueling trial, as Michelin aims for a record 10th consecutive victory in the 12-hour classic, America's most historic sports car race.
The first race of a new season brings many unknowns. How will all of the new elements work? Will team and drivers be in mid-season form? What if the conditions change? Who has gained the most? Who is struggling? Who will provide the toughest competition?
One thing that the top teams from Audi; Peugeot; Acura; Porsche; Corvette and Ferrari know that they count on is the technical support and commitment from their technical partners at Michelin. Michelin began extensive 2008 testing before the 2007 season ended and has been working continuously with its teams to prepare for Sebring; the ALMS season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As part of their commitment, Michelin will again assign a Michelin tire engineer to each of its partner teams.
"Sebring is a very important race to Michelin," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager. "As the first race of the ALMS season, we get a very good measure of the new cars, teams and performance and can see who has done their homework. We get a variety of conditions and can fully assess relative strengths and weaknesses; you cannot hide in a 12-hour race," said Mammone.
Having secured their 10th consecutive victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June, Michelin-partner teams are seeking a 10th consecutive overall race victory here in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Michelin-partner teams claimed victory in the LMP2 (Andretti Green Acura), GT1 (Corvette Racing) and GT2 (Risi Competizione Ferrari) classes.
Michelin seeks their third consecutive ALMS class championship sweep in 2008 after securing every ALMS manufacturer, team, driver and tire championship for the past two years. All of the 2007 championship teams return to competition with Michelin for the 2008 season. They will be attempting to win their ninth consecutive ALMS Tire Championship in the LMP1 and GT2 categories and their sixth in GT1 and third in LMP2. Unlike other forms of motorsports which run a "spec tire," the ALMS enjoys a fierce battle among numerous tire companies with six tire companies fighting for ALMS honors, including five different tire makers in the GT2 class alone.
* The LMP1 championship winning Audi R10 TDI diesels of Audi Sport North America (#1 and #2) return to attempt to claim their ninth consecutive victory at Sebring. Michelin and Audi have partnered for great success in ALMS competition and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Later this year, the Audi-Michelin partnership will seek their eighth win at the fabled Le Mans circuit.
* Penske Racing and their Porsche RS Spyders (#6 and #7) dominated the 2007 ALMS competition by claiming eleven LMP2 class wins including eight overall ALMS wins. Besides seeking to double up-their championship sweep, the team is prepared to claim victory at the one race that eluded them last year, the 12 Hours of Sebring.
* Returning to defend their GT1 championships are the powerful Corvette C6.R's (#3 and #4) of Pratt & Miller Racing, winners of the last seven series championships.
* Risi Competizione returns after a successful 2007 campaign where they won eight races and swept the manufacturer, team and drivers' championships. Nipping on their heels will be the three-car effort of Flying Lizard Motorsports and an assortment of powerful teams including Tafel Racing and new to the Michelin team, Farnbacher-Loles Racing.
Michelin partner teams have led every green flag lap at Sebring since lap 296 of the 1999 race. That adds up to 2,883 laps or more than 10,300 miles of competition at Sebring.
Dating back to the series' inception in 1999, Michelin teams have led 14,753 out of a possible 15,518 (95%) in ALMS competition en route to winning 85 out of 88 races, including all nine 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans events.