HAVE TIRES, WILL TRAVEL
Terri Hundertmark has been asked by Michelin Tire to represent the French manufacturer at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in early November. The long running automotive aftermarket and racing/performance parts show is the largest of its kind in the United States. Manufacturers from around the globe will display product and introduce new innovations in the weeklong extravaganza at the Las Vegas (Nevada) Convention Center.
Terri, who began her relationship with Michelin while competing in the Skip Barber-Formula Dodge Series, will be on hand to sign autographs and explain the attributes of some of Michelin's newest products -- including the PAX run flat system.
The SEMA Show runs from November 1-5.
TERRI PASSES ON PEACE OF MIND
While representing Michelin at the second annual Petit Le Mans, the week of September 14-18, Terri gave "peace of mind" to the race-goers. She helped introduce spectators and special guests to Michelin's innovative Pax System -- "Pax" is the French translation of "peace of mind."
While at Road Atlanta, Hundertmark drove a radical vehicle, the "Paxmobile," to help raise awareness of this latest technological innovation by Michelin. The Paxmobile is a specially designed 1999 Volkswagen Beetle with a complete rubber tire tread running over the roof from nose to tail of the car. The "Bug" has been painted to mimic the wheel and tire combination that makes up the Pax System.
The Pax System, a new run-flat innovation, uses a special tire and inner-liner that allows a superior-ride, handling and coverage distance following a flat tire than the more traditional run-flat systems. With the tire completely depleted of air the inner-liner of the Pax system allows the driver to safely reach a destination where the tire can be repaired. Unlike traditional systems, which rely on a stiff and tall sidewall, the Pax tire allows a more comfortable ride by having a normal sidewall thickness. When the tire is flat it utilizes the inner-liner, along with a special lubricant between the tire and the liner, as well as a special Pax System wheel to keep the tire in place. This new system allows it to perform above the older designs for longer periods of time.
The tire pressure is monitored by Johnson Controls' Pressure Safety Information System (PSI). The PSI system informs the driver that they have low tire pressure -- it is nearly impossible to feel the difference of driving on a flat Pax tire compared to one that is properly inflated.
The system does truly give "peace of mind."
The car drew much attention as Terri drove it both on the track with journalists as guests and through the access roads around the facility.
"I had the opportunity to test Michelin's traditional Zero Pressure Run Flat tire at the Michelin Car and Driver One Lap of America and had great results on both the track and the road. I became a believer in run-flat technology. I am excited to work with Michelin on this new Pax project. Safety, performance and comfort was definitely on Michelin's mind when they developed this system!"
The Pax System will be available in 2000 and will be installed from the factory on many of the 2001 cars.
PLAYING IN THE DIRT
Terri was invited to attend the Jimmy Sills' Sprint Car School in Marysville, California just prior to her visit to Laguna Seca Raceway for the CART weekend. She drove a fully competitive winged-sprint car -- such as those used on the Pennzoil World of Outlaws' tour.
The experience was a unique one for Terri. Never before had she driven on a dirt racetrack or in a car with a power to weight ratio so staggering.
"As soon as you get on the throttle the rear tires dig in and the weight transfers to the back. It throws you back in the seat and the front wheels lighten up and almost come off the ground. The tire stagger immediately starts to pitch the car to the left and it becomes a handful. That is when the wild ride begins."
Terri compared the style of racing on the dirt versus pavement. "The racing line of a sprint car is totally opposite of any road racing or stock car race line. That was very challenging to me. It was hard to feel comfortable keeping the car out high on the bank with big speed where my instincts told me to keep the car down on the apron and brake and then allow the car to drift out. The whole experience was amazing!"
While focusing primarily on her road racing career in 2000, Terri hopes to make it back into an open wheel dirt car before the end of next year. "If I can get my legs in it," she commented after the laps in the sprinter, "I want to try the midget. That would be such a blast!"
INDY IN 2000
In order to get closer to reaching her dream, Terri has made the move to Indianapolis. She has purchased a home within site of the most famous racecourse in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is from this home that Terri will guide her racing career as well as her business interests.
"Indy is a great community. Everyone is so interested in and supportive of auto racing, I am very excited about living here."
Terri's website: www.MsSpeed.com.