Michelin will not support series

Michelin will not service teams in the European Le Mans Series, it emerged at the Valencia tests last week. The Westward Racing team, which takes delivery of two ex-works Panoz LMP Spyders any day in preparation for the Le Mans Series, has been ...

Michelin will not service teams in the European Le Mans Series, it emerged at the Valencia tests last week. The Westward Racing team, which takes delivery of two ex-works Panoz LMP Spyders any day in preparation for the Le Mans Series, has been forced to look elsewhere for its tyres, and Stefan Johansson is in the same situation as he takes delivery of an Audi R8. Both makes were designed to run on Michelin and may not perform to the same level on another make.

Says Michelin's Gerard Aussage: "We are supporting the American Le Mans Series and the FIA GT Championship. These are two very big championships for us and we cannot do any more. The ALMS is very interesting because it has the manufacturers, and they have asked us to go. We have not had a lot of requests for the ELMS and think that the championship will be cancelled. All of the GT cars will go to the FIA GT Championship. We have not had any requests from them for tyres in the ELMS."

ELMS organiser John Macdonald responds: "We are committed to doing the championship and we can't just say we will stop. If there is a problem with Michelin, I will fix it."

Goodyear's Karl-Heinz Tibor told Westward Racing manager Dave Sims that it would be "a couple of weeks" before he could say if the American company would support the ELMS. Goodyear will support the FIA Sportscar Championship and its subsidiary company, Dunlop, has already declined to service the ELMS. Dunlop will support the FIA GT Championship, Grand-Am, the Interactive Championship and Powertour, and a spokesman said last week that he did not expect the ELMS to be profitable. "You would have to do it well, not half-heartedly" he said. Avon, too, has said it will not support the ELMS.

Pirelli has effectively withdrawn from all its professional motor racing commitments except for the Porsche Supercup, which has a year to run on its contract, and a deal with Steve Saleen. Although the Italian tyres were widely criticised by the teams (almost invariably "off the record") Pirelli was generous in its support, and its withdrawal has left a big hole in the list of suppliers.

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Series General
Drivers Steve Saleen