Utah: Michelin preview

FAST, FAST, FAST Michelin Ready for Ultra-Fast New Miller Circuit TOOELE, UTAH (May 12, 2008) - There is fast and then there is "fast." Michelin and its American Le Mans Series (ALMS) technical...

                              FAST, FAST, FAST

Michelin Ready for Ultra-Fast New Miller Circuit

TOOELE, UTAH (May 12, 2008) - There is fast and then there is "fast." Michelin and its American Le Mans Series (ALMS) technical partner teams definitely know "fast."

Michelin teams hold the ALMS track lap records at almost every current ALMS circuit and are ready for the fourth stop on the 2008 American Le Mans Series and a very fast new track.

Using a new 3.08-mile, 15-turn Miller Motorsports Park (MMP) perimeter track configuration for the 2008 Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels, the ALMS cars will produce much higher average lap speeds than on the previous 4.486-mile, 24- turn MMP circuit.

"We could very well see average speeds near the range of Mosport or Road America" said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader.

The top ALMS qualifying lap average speed on the 2.459-mile Mosport circuit in 2007 was 134.476 miles per hour. The ALMS pole speed at Wisconsin's Road America was even higher, as the pole-winning Audi R10 TDI topped the 135 miles per hour lap mark on the hilly 4.048-mile circuit.

"We tested here on the new perimeter circuit with some of our Michelin technical partner teams," said Koenigstein. "The weather and track conditions will help decide which Michelin tires we use, but the new perimeter circuit is definitely going to produce much higher lap speeds, maybe as much as 10-20 miles per hour faster than the 113-114 mph laps that we saw on the longer MMP circuit," said Koenigstein.

After combining to break track records at every stop on the 2007 series, a total of 82 records in all, Michelin technical partners have already posted new marks at each of the first three races in 2008.

MICHELIN WELCOMES DE FERRAN MOTORSPORTS

Making their ALMS race debut at Miller Motorsports Park is the new de Ferran Motorsports Panasonic ELS Acura ARX-01b from former Indy 500 Champion and two-time CART Champion, Gil de Ferran who will co-drive with Simon Pagenaud (2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champion). De Ferran Motorsports joins the Acura team in the ultra-competitive LMP2 class and completes the Michelin 2008 ALMS technical partner line-up.

CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLES HIGHLIGHTED BY MICHELIN TEAMS

After completing one-third of the 2008 ALMS season, Michelin technical partner team drivers are leading the championship battles in all four ALMS classes:

LMP1: Audi Sport North America (Michelin) drivers Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner lead the championship with their Audi teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in third position.

LMP2: Michelin Penske Porsche RS Spyder drivers Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard have a 10-point lead over Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura drivers Scott Sharp and David Brabham. Dyson Racing drivers Chris Dyson and Guy Smith and Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti hold the third and fourth places respectively. All are Michelin partner teams.

GT1: The GT1 driver championship is a battle between the two Corvette (Michelin) driver pairs as Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell currently hold a four-point lead over teammates Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

GT2: On the strength of two consecutive class wins, Tafel Racing Ferrari (Michelin) drivers Dominik Farnbacher and Dirk Müller hold a six-point lead over Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche drivers Jörg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler, while Johannes Van Overbeek and Patrick Pilet of Flying Lizard Motorsports complete the top three. All are Michelin partner teams.

-credit: michelin

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Butch Leitzinger , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Johnny O'Connell , Lucas Luhr , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Marino Franchitti , Romain Dumas , Olivier Beretta , Wolf Henzler , Dominik Farnbacher , Patrick Pilet , Simon Pagenaud , Chris Dyson , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Dyson Racing , Flying Lizard Motorsports