MICHELIN FITTED VIPER CONTINUES DOMINATION OF GT2 IN HOMESTEAD FIA GT Porsche and Panoz Cars Run Strong in GT1
(HOMESTEAD, FLA.) --- The Michelin-fitted Viper Team ORECA continued its domination of the GT2 class in Sunday's 500 kilometer FIA Grand Touring Championship at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. Pedro Lamy of Portugal and Olivier Beretta of France drove the No. 51 Viper to victory in GT2. David Donohue of Malvern, Pa. and Karl Wendlinger of Austria finished 22nd in the No. 52 Viper after suffering rear suspension failure.
Uwe Alzen and Jorg Muller, both Germany, drove the Michelin-fitted Porsche 911 GT1 98 to a second place finish. Allan McNish of Scotland and Yannick Dalmas finished third in the No. 7 Porsche 911 GT1 98. The Michelin-fitted DAMS Panoz GTR finished sixth.
"With Michelin victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, combined with our domination of FIA GT2 and North American GT1 racing, Michelin continues to provide its teams the handling and reliability they need to win," said Herb Johnson, Director of Motorsports, Michelin North America. "The Viper Team ORECA once again showed why they are the best in GT2 and the Michelin Pilots gave the team good grip and handling on the Homestead road course."
Beretta and Lamy, who share the GT2 Driver's title for 1998, hope to give Viper Team ORECA its ninth victory in the final race of the season next Sunday at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. The Michelin-equipped team has also claimed the GT2 Teams Championship (subject to official confirmation by the FIA).
The No. 8 Porsche was the fastest Michelin-fitted qualifier with a time of 1 minute 14.849 seconds, good for the third overall starting position. The No. 7 Porsche started fourth after posting a time of 1 minute 15.132 seconds. The DAMS Panoz started fifth after recording a time of 1 minute 15.139 seconds. The No. 51 Viper started second in GT1 with a time of 1 minute 22.248 seconds. The No. 52 Viper started third in GT2 with a time of 1 minute 22.386 seconds.
Michelin began the GT season by claiming the GT1 class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Rohr Motorsports Porsche 911 GT1. Panoz Motorsports drivers Wallace and Brabham led a Michelin sweep of GT1 at Sebring. The Champion Porsche finished in the runner up position, followed by a second Panoz entry. Panoz also has victories at Las Vegas, Homestead, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio, Minneapolis, Mosport and the overall and GT1 victory at the Sebring Fall Festival. Champion Porsche won at Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen and the Petit Le Mans.
Michelin scored dual victories at Le Mans in June. The Michelin-equipped Porsche GT1-98, piloted by McNish, Laurent Aiello and Stepane Ortelli, both of France, claimed the GT1 and overall victory in the world's most prestigious endurance race. The Michelin-fitted Chrysler Viper GTS-R driven by Donohue, Justin Bell of Britain and Luca Drudi of Italy were the victors in GT2. Michelin supported cars finished second in both GT1 and in GT2.
In addition to its activity in GT racing this year, Michelin North America is also supplying tires for the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Nilton Rossoni beat Jeff Simmons and Todd Snyder to the checkered flag in Saturday's 22-lap race. Points leader, Simmons and Snyder will take the driver's championship battle to the final race at Laguna Seca next week.
Michelin, which brought the world the radial tire more than 50 years ago, is the world's largest tire company. It has 22 plants in North America and produces tires for every type of vehicle, from bicycles to the space shuttle.