VICTORY FOR MICHELIN TYRES IN THE SPA-24 HOUR RACE
Today on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit the Michelin-shod cars emerged victorious in the 6th round of the FIA-GT Championship. It was a very exciting race spiced up by the rain, which required good race management and a logical tyre choice.
Michelin-equipped cars monopolised the first 4 places in the overall classification.
After 532 laps the Phoenix Carsport Holland Corvette (Deletraz-Hezemans-Gollin- Fassler) scored its first win in the Belgian classic from the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12 (Van de Pole-Bartels-Biagi-Lamy) and the Belgian Peka Racing squad's Corvette (Kumpen-Longin-Mollekens-Bouvy).
Michelin finished 2nd in LM GT2 thanks to the IMSA Performance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Lietz-Long-Narac). The French manufacturer also triumphed in the national G2 and G3 categories.
Matthieu Bonardel - Michelin Motorsports Director 4 wheels
"From a tyre point of view this Spa 24 Hours posed every kind of challenge. The weather conditions enabled us to use most of our range. We brought 9 different types for GT1 divided up between 5 rain tyres and 4 slicks; In GT2, we had 6 types. In the end 80 to 90% of these tyres were used in the 24 hours, a very high figure.
Strategies varied according to use. Some went the classic route while others took a few gambles. For example, the Phoenix Team shod soft tyres at the start of the race, medium compounds in the middle and even slicks when it was raining. These out-of-sync choices led to big differences in the cars' performances. At Spa, you always have to gamble on the evolution of the weather conditions and how the track has rubbered in when it's dry. We really enjoyed the 24 hours, as like every year, the tyres are an essential and rewarding part of the strategies of our teams whether in GT1 or GT2.
In GT2, we suffered a series of unfortunate incidents either because of accidents or wrong tyre choices. Yet again the Ardennes showed that victory here is always deserved. It demands experience, a bit of luck and the tyres are one of the keys to success in the Spa 24 Hours."
Marcel Fassler - Phoenix Carsport Holland
"It's always crucial to have very good tyres in the Spa 24 Hours as the conditions are both very difficult and changeable. When the track's just slightly damp making the right choice is very tricky. But we always had the ideal tyre whether it was dry, damp or wet. At Spa in particular we have to have the right tyre for all the conditions and top-quality back-up from Michelin. And that was the case! I'm really very happy as we had very quick rubber and an irreproachable service!"
Pedro Lamy Vitaphone Racing
"We had excellent Michelin tyres for all conditions that we had to cope with throughout the race. In the rain I decided to use intermediates and I set some super quick times. Frankly, I was very impressed and I can safely say that the Michelin intermediates are really fantastic."
Frederic Henry-Biabaud Michelin Motorsports Director
"Once more we've proved that our products are quick, long-lasting and polyvalent. The Spa 24 Hours is a very important race for us as it pits exceptional cars known to the public against one another in extreme endurance conditions. That associates both the endurance and competitive aspects in relation to the other manufacturers entered. It's very satisfying to have won the Spa 24 Hours given the way in which the race unfolded. The major difficulty for the teams was to manage the race and their tyre choices. In this case the role of the tyre goes way beyond the pure performance aspect, as it is integrated in the team's overall strategy. These endurance races help us to progress in supplying tyres for top-of-the-range cars, so our interest in such events is that they help us evolve in our development programmes, and allow these cars to run in extreme conditions."